The project is known as Fuchsia and is expected to overcome the limitations of Android to power a growing and diverse market of mobile devices.
For more than two years, a small and stealthy group of engineers within Google has been working on software that, they hope, will eventually replace Android, the dominant mobile operating system in the world. As the team grows, you will have to overcome a fierce internal debate about how the software will work.
The project, known as Fuchsia, was created from scratch to overcome the limitations of Android as more personal devices and other devices are invented. It is designed to be better suited to voice interactions and frequent security updates, and to look the same on a wide range of devices, from laptops to tiny sensors connected to the Internet.
The head of Google, Sundar Pichai, has directed his company in that direction: towards artificial intelligence services that reach consumers around the world. However, its main operating systems, which depend on dozens of hardware partners, have not kept up.
This is what is already known about Fuchsia: Google, of Alphabet Inc. began publishing without too much noise online code in 2016, and the company has allowed developers of external applications to manipulate parts of the open source code. Google also began experimenting with applications for the system, such as interactive screens and voice commands for YouTube.
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But Fuchsia team members have discussed a broader plan that we reported here for the first time: the creation of a single operating system capable of running all the company's internal devices, such as Pixel phones and smart speakers, as well as third parties that now depend on Android and another system called Chrome OS, according to people aware of the conversations. According to one of them, engineers have said that they want to insert Fuchsia into connected home devices, such as voice-controlled speakers, within three years, and then move on to larger machines like laptops.
Ultimately, the team hopes that its system will replace Android, the software that feeds more than three-quarters of the world's smartphones, said the sources, who asked that their identity not be disclosed by discussing internal matters. The goal is for that to happen in the next five years, one of the people said.
But Pichai and Hiroshi Lockheimer, their second-in-command, who runs Android and Chrome, have not yet signed a roadmap for Fuchsia, the sources said. Executives have to move cautiously on any plan to review Android because the software supports dozens of hardware partners, thousands of developers and billions of dollars of mobile advertising. Android is also subject to regulatory scrutiny and legal disputes for the company, which means any changes in the software will be closely watched.
European regulators applied a record US $ 5 billion antitrust fine to the company on Wednesday for using mobile software to extend their services. Within Google, Fuchsia already faces some internal disputes about how it should be designed and implemented, particularly when it comes to privacy features.
Before the public, the company points to Fuchsia as an example of its free approach to creative products. "Google sees these open source experiments as an investment in innovation," a company spokesperson said in an email.