Google Jabs at Apple & iTunes at Google I/O 2011

Google has been taking swipes at Apple during Google I/O 2011, the company’s annual developer conference, including verbal jabs and at least one incendiary image showing the Android mascot eating an Apple. Relations between the once-best corporate friends have been heating up as competition between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile platforms has intensified.

Google eats the apple

Vic Gundotra, Vice President of Engineering for Google, on stage at Google I/O
Photo by Danny Sullivan, posted to Twitpic and published at The Mac Observer with permission
(Click the image for a larger version) 

During the keynote presentation at Google I/O on Tuesday, Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced the official release of Android OS 3.1 Honeycomb for tablets, as well as the much-rumored Google Music cloud storage and player service, which was rolled out in beta form.

Google Music doesn’t directly compete with iTunes today. Google Music doesn’t offer music for sale — it’s ostensibly a cloud storage solution for music, but it does includes a music player that competes with iTunes as a player. In addition, Apple is rumored to be working on a cloud-based music storage solution, too, one that could be unveiled as early as Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in June.

This could be why Google was making some anti-Apple jabs during the keynote. For instance, Alex Handy of Software Development Times wrote that, “This entire presentation on Music Beta is littered with swipes at Apple’s iTunes.” Mr. Handy wrote that when the image of the Android eating an Apple was shown, the crowd applauded.

Jordan Yerman wrote for NowPublic that, “The image onstage of the little green Android eating an apple makes Google’s message even more clear than ever.”

For its part, Apple has also been less than shy about criticizing Google. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, for instance, said in early 2010 that Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil” mantra was “a load of crap” (other, more explicit versions of the story also exist).

In October of that same year, Mr. Jobs said during a conference call with analysts, ““Google loves to characterize Android as open and iOS and iPhone as closed,” Mr. Jobs said. “We find this [to be] a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches.”

More recently, Mr. Jobs took umbrage when a fan wrote to the iconic CEO and said that he might switch to Android because his Droid didn’t track his location. “Oh yes they do,” Mr. Jobs responded. “We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.”

Google’s imagery and verbal lobs would suggest that the rivalry is escalating, though it’s also possible that the image above was really an attempt by the search giant to tell its developers that Google has drunk the so-called Apple Kool-Aid, or was planning to use some Apple technology in the future.