Android Designed To Be Open, Not Safe, Says Android Head

It seems that Google may have just fallen foul of one of the pitfalls of having engineers running the company rather than people that are more adept at giving a politician’s answer to some tough questions. Google’s head honcho of Android, Sundar Pichai, has been in attendance at this week’s Mobile World Congress, and it seems he’s given a very interesting answer to a mildly interesting question.

Speaking to French Android blog, FrAndroid, Pichai was asked about the distinctly Android issue of malware, with Android phones being the most susceptible to those looking to do harm to, or via someone’s smartphone.

Sundar Pichai Android head

The topic of malware has to be a fairly common question for Pichai, which is why we would expect him to have one or two canned responses ready to fire back. It seems that for whatever reason Pichai had something else in mind this week, with the candid response taking some by surprise.

Rather than offering an answer the likes of which a politician would be proud, Pichai simply said that Android was never designed with safety first, but instead with offering an open experience. Well Mr. Pichai, it’s safe to say that’s what you did.

Google’s head of Android also went on to talk about his company’s relationship with the biggest player in Android, Samsung, as well as the new line of Nokia X handsets that have been announced this week. Unfortunately for him though, it looks like that’s going to be forgotten alongside the admittance that Android simply isn’t meant to be safe for everyone to use.

We cannot guarantee that Android is designed to be safe, the format was designed to give more freedom. When people talk about 90% of malware for Android, they must of course take into account the fact that it is the most popular operating system in the world. If I had a company dedicated to malware, I would also be addressing my attacks on Android…

We’d love to know what everyone in the Android team as well as the wider Google have to say about that. We’re going to go ahead and suggest it’s nothing good.

Nexus 5 rear shot

While the fact that Android does in fact account for more devices than anyone else, that doesn’t get around the fact that it is undoubtedly coming up short in the security and safety stakes. With third-party app stores being used around the globe, Google can’t always be held responsible for what goes on. That being said, it sounds like it didn’t have safety as a priority during Android’s development. That’s one thing, but saying it so bluntly at a mobile device show is another entirely.

(Source: FrAndroid [Google Translate])

You can follow us on Twitter, add us to your circle on Google+ or like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google, Apple and the Web.