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I am a new user of Android phone. I used to own an iPhone. I don't remember needing an Apple account besides using it to download applications from app store. Now I need a Gmail account to do even some of the basic stuff like finding my location on Google Map. Is Google violating my privacy? Why am I forced to log in to Gmail permanently to use Android?

Update: From Eren Tantekin's comment, it seems that Apple is using it's own application to run Google Map. That may be the reason why a Google Account is not required. From Richard Borcsik's comment, it seems that Apple is collecting location data as well, this I am not aware of.

With the background knowledge above, I would take eldarerathis's comment as the accepted answer. I apologise if this appears to be a rant to anyone. I just want some clarification. Thanks.

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Try an Android tablet Kindle Fire on which you'll never be asked to login with Google Account unless you use Google's apps after downloading them. –  Sachin Shekhar Mar 29 '12 at 4:15
    
@SachinShekhar, I am referring to a phone, not tablet. I am never asked to login when using Google apps on an iPhone, why should I do so now, on Android? –  Question Overflow Mar 29 '12 at 5:45
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I don't understand: on the iPhone you need an Apple account "only" to download apps? Oh, cool. Are there people out there that don't ever download any app and just go with the stock ones? –  Lohoris Mar 29 '12 at 9:30
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2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I doubt there's an answer to this beyond "because that's how Google designed its apps". Android itself does not require a Google account to use, only Google's proprietary applications do. CyanogenMod and other pure source builds of Android are actually forbidden from distributing the Google apps within the firmware package itself because of their proprietary nature, and if you install such a ROM without the associated Google apps add-on you won't even have the ability to add a Google account in your settings.

If you don't want to be tied to Google then don't use the apps they produce, but also don't be surprised that they want you to sign in when using services that they provide. It's really not that different from any other app or website that requires sign in to use the services it provides, in my opinion, but if you don't like it use different apps.

Re: the question about why Maps specifically requires a sign-in on Android but not iOS: the comments about the iOS one being developed by Apple could certainly be correct, and I do agree with those statements. In addition, Apple may not want you to sign in Google's servers with their Maps app. It would create a tie (however loose it may be) between you and Google's services, which I'm sure Apple is trying to discourage as much as possible to prevent customers from jumping ship to Android.

Another angle you have to keep in mind is that Google is pushing pretty hard to tie together all of its online services as much as it possibly can. Based on their priorities and their business model, it makes sense that the Android version would try to integrate as tightly as possible with their other services and with the web. It's in their best interest (from a business perspective) to try to make Android apps and their web counterparts as seamless as possible in order to attract users to Android who are already heavily invested in Google's products. Of course, this is just conjecture on my part, I think only Google could truly say why Maps works the way it does.

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Your first sentence should be: "You don't need Gmail Account to use Android." :) –  Sachin Shekhar Mar 29 '12 at 4:17
    
Can you enlighten me why I should log in to a Google account using Android as I need not do so previously on an iPhone using the same apps like Google Map? If it is designed to do so on Android, why not on iPhone? –  Question Overflow Mar 29 '12 at 5:51
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Because Maps on the iPhone is not a "Google App". It is an app made by Apple. You are not directly using a Google product when you use it. Apple is the one using the Google product so that they can provide you a Maps application. –  Eren Tantekin Mar 29 '12 at 7:29
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Of course it's not required on an iPhone because it's not made by Google. However android is developed by Google. Didn't you worry about privacy when apple kept a record of your location history? –  Richard Borcsik Mar 29 '12 at 7:42
    
@ErenTantekin: that is a good comment. I didn't know. Now I know. Perhaps you can put it down in your answer? –  Question Overflow Mar 29 '12 at 7:50
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You need a Google account only if you want to use Google services. If you don't want to use Google services, you are free not to have a Google account. However, it looks like you actually tried to use one of Google services (Google Maps) and you were suprised that it requires a Google account.

By the way, you can use the rest of Android without a Google account since the operating system itself is free and open source.

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Yes, I am surprise because there isn't such a requirement when I use Google services on an iPhone. –  Question Overflow Mar 29 '12 at 7:26
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Because Apple is using the Google service there, not you directly. –  Eren Tantekin Mar 29 '12 at 7:43
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