Google is a self described information company, so why would they enter into the phone market? One obvious answer is that they see mobile as a major advertising platform and wanted to capture the market. While this is true, it’s not the full story.
Google’s thing is information and this has to be captured in some fashion. We all know that Google makes use of the data we submit in searches, gmail and gtalk. They have even sent around street view vehicles to take pictures of our houses and streets. But with android, they no longer have to do this. We are doing a lot for them. Through use of android, we are a mass of mobile information gathering nodes for the Google collective.
For example, Google would be very interested in the locations of the wireless hotspots you’ve run into today. You can also correct navigation data on the fly and crowd-source traffic information. You already upload pictures to picasa with geotag information. And the GPS records your coming and goings while driving, working and shopping. All valuable information to marketers and this information is silently recorded by your android handset.
In many ways this is a little creepy. Big brother and all that. But in others, this is a great experiment in digitizing the human experience. We just need to be vigilant that our rights are not trampled along the way.