Google Chairman Eric Schmidt gave Facebook glowing marks for endorsing the Android platform with its just-released Home suite of social-networking software. Chief Executive Larry Page doesn't appear quite as enthused.
When asked Thursday about the possible impact of Facebook Home on engagement with Android applications, Page ducked the question.
"I think that Google...we're really focused on building and creating great Android experiences within the strong ecosystem that we have," Page said during Google's first-quarter earnings call. "And it's really great to see developers really focused on building for Android."
Though one could read the generic line about "developers" as an endorsement of Facebook's efforts, Page seemed to deliberately talk around the question. He avoided mentioning his competitor by name altogether, and quickly moved on to the next query as soon as he could.
Why deflect? Facebook Home usurps Android's home and lock screens to make the social network's News Feed, dressed up as a panning display of updates called Cover Feed, the primary focus of the device. Home also comes with a creative messaging service called Chat Heads, and specialized notifications. The experience certainly emphasizes Facebook products over Google ones, which means it has the potential to steal away user attention.
Google continues to outwardly maintain that Home shows off the openness of Android. The hooray-openness, go-Android message would be more believable if the company's CEO gave the topic more than two seconds of his time.
Perhaps it's a moot point. Google shares rallied in after-hours trading once the company posted revenue of $13.97 billion and GAAP net income of $3.35 billion during its first quarter.