Facebook Home on Android? Good stuff, says Eric Schmidt

Google's chairman says you can't do open source halfway. And he applauds Facebook's newly unveiled Home app that completely alters the smartphone experience on Google Android devices.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt sits down for an interview at the 2013 All Things D mobile conference in New York. CNET/Marguerite Reardon

NEW YORK -- Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt enthusiastically supports what Facebook has done on the Google Android OS with its new suite of apps called Home.

Speaking at All Things D's Dive into Mobile conference here Tuesday, Schmidt reiterated the statement Google put out after Facebook launched earlier this month, defending the company's use of its open-source software to layer a new Facebook-centric experience on Google Android smartphones.

Some people, including Microsoft's head of Windows Phone Terry Myerson, have publicly speculated that if given the choice Google would try to take the Facebook Home app suite out of its app store.

Myerson made this comment in an earlier interview on the All Things D stage. The reason Myerson and others think that Google wouldn't be pleased with Facebook's efforts has to do with the way the new Facebook software "skin" changes the entire Android experience. Android alerts are replaced by Facebook alerts. And the entire user interface is altered.

But Schmidt enthusiastically supported Facebook's enhancements. And he said blocking Facebook's efforts would go completely against the entire notion of open source and the foundation that Google Android was built upon.

"This is what open source is all about," he said. "You can't have half open source. It's against our religion."

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He explained that people don't work with open source, don't understand the value that a truly open platform brings to new services. And he said it's important for Google to foster these innovations in application design.

He said that it was clear that Facebook had "read the rules and adhered to them." He added that the new Home applications adhere to the full application compatibility standards.

"I think it's a tremendous endorsement of the [Android] platform," he said. "And what you can do with it."

 

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