Google Hates Desktop Linux!

Google hates Linux

Google hates Linux, Google does not hate Linux. Google loves Linux, Google doesn’t love Linux.

This question is perhaps as old as Google itself. Does Google hate Linux? Considering that Google is primarily web based company and web servers are dominated by Unix and Linux, we could simply assume that Google does not hate Linux or better to say Google cannot hate Linux, at least not the Linux server.

And indeed, Google runs a customized version of Debian on its production server. No, Google doesn’t hate server Linux. But what about desktop Linux?

[Tweet “Google cannot hate Linux, at least not the server Linux. But what about desktop Linux?”]

Google ignores desktop Linux!

Desktop Linux users have often felt ignored by Google. It’s a feeling which all of us desktop Linux users have had, if I am allowed to speak on everyone’s behalf. Don’t you feel the same way that we have been left out by the mighty Google? The same Google that uses Linux kernel powered Android mobile OS? The same Google that runs Debian Linux on its production servers? The same Google that runs a customized Ubuntu, named Goobuntu, on its employees’ desktops?

May be, may not be. Let’s dig a bit deeper on Google’s indifference for desktop Linux.

Hey Google, where is my Drive?

Linux users waiting for Google Drive

I give you one example where you may agree of Google’s apathy for desktop Linux. It’s Google’s cloud storage service, Google Drive. It was in April 2012 when Google Drive was first released with download option in Windows and Mac OS X.

Desktop Linux users expected a Linux version of Google Dive to follow soon. The wait has not been over yet, as I write this article in September 2015. Linux users even started a campaign to bring Google Drive to Linux but even after thousands of supporters, there is no official Google Drive  client for Linux.

So I ask, Google, where is my Drive? Perhaps you can ask Google itself by tweeting this to official Google Drive Twitter account.

[Tweet “Hey @googledrive, when is the Linux version coming? Why ignoring desktop Linux?”]

Now some may argue that one doesn’t need an official Google Drive client in Linux. As the saying goes, when there is a shell, there is a way. There are always means to use Google Drive in Linux. There are command line tools such as Drive and then there are paid options such as Insync but my question is why not just support Linux?

Google has no dearth of resources, both in terms of manpower and finances. It would be a moral boost and (perhaps) a positive signal to others that desktop Linux matters too. No matter how much you argue that lack of apps is not the reason, but the truth is, it does hurt the popularity of desktop Linux. If big companies like Google or Hulu deliberately ignore Linux users, smaller and newer companies will follow the same. It’s more of setting a wrong precedence.

It’s not just the Google Drive

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with just Google Drive. Google has been doing it in the past. Remember Picasa? If you ever used Picasa, you know that there was never a desktop client of Picasa for Linux, while it is certainly available for Windows.

No Google Photos for Linux

Picasa is almost dead now. It is being replaced by Photos. Google provides a desktop uploader for mass uploading of image files in Google Photos.

  • Does it have a Linux version? No.
  • Does it have a Windows version? Yes.
  • Does it have a Mac OS X version? Yes.

You see, Linux got the boot again. It’s in the face of desktop Linux users signaling, ‘we don’t give a hoot about you Linux-ers’.

[Tweet “With Google Photos, Google has yet again ignored desktop Linux.”]

Google has also ended support for Chrome browser on 32 bit Linux. That’s another blow to desktop Linux users.

Does Google really ignore desktop Linux?

It would be unfair if I do not present you the other side of Google. The side that loves desktop Linux. Did I just say that? I did, indeed. Because there are a number of Google products which are also made available for Linux.

Are they really?

Yes, in fact, there are plenty. Browsers like Google Chrome and Chromium is one thing, but then there are less popular apps like Google Earth available for Linux. That’s not it. Google also released Android Studio for Linux at the same time as Windows and OS X.

On the top of it, several Google apps such as Google Keep and Google Now are available for Linux via Chrome Apps.

Yes or No?

So, what’s the catch here? Does Google ignore desktop Linux or not? Answer differs from person to person. In my opinion, Google should not be ignoring Linux users in such a way because it gives a wrong indication that Linux users are not important enough. While the community is always there to help Linux, support from big hot shots like Google is always appreciated.

What do you think? You can quick vote your answer or use the comment box to voice your opinion.

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  • Google is like Microsoft… they love Linux in servers/enterprise because it earns them money.

    Sometimes they offer an API and figure the community will build something with it like in Google Drive (Gnome and Insync comes to mind). Despite them saying “A Linux version is coming”, they then tossed out some API and that was the end of it.

    Even more important than Google Drive would be Google Photo (Backup & Sync? ) upload capabilities. The Picasa API is dead and abandoned so there are no options other than browser (I make sure to use Firefox when I do).

    The reason we want an official Google version is that Google could eventually change the API, break all of the community-created apps and ignore any of the complaints (or come up with a lame excuse). An official application would make it not-so-easy to toss aside.

    The few apps that Google does provide for desktop Linux is a fraction of what is offered to Windows, Mac, Android and Chrome OS. If it weren’t for them making applications able to run in Google Chrome then Linux would have even less available.

    I would love to see Microsoft put their money where their mouth is and port some big-name applications (MS Office? OneDrive?) that Google has ignored with their equivalent, and port it to Linux. That would be spit in the eye of Google or make them inspired to port some of their applications.

    I know Microsoft has released .NET, SQL Server and Visual Studio Code but there are no Google competitors for these, and these are to help Microsoft keep/attract Enterprises to their Azure platform. Office vs Google Docs? OneDrive vs Google Drive?

    Google could treat Linux like a first class citizen. But they don’t.