Remember when Google spoke up for Huawei after the Trump Ban was issued? There may be more to it, according to a new report.
The Information reports that Google not only worked on a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker with Huawei, but that the company gave Huawei its own lab at Googleplex Headquarters during their collaboration time on the Nexus 6P smartphone in 2015.
Google and Huawei worked side-by-side, with Google and Huawei working closely on the Nexus 6P’s camera and display. The two companies became so close in their smartphone collaboration that “they would grab dinner and drinks together,” the report says.
The situation seems even bigger than believed when one considers Google’s Project Dragonfly last year, designed to create a censored search engine for China. The project has since been terminated. President Trump tweeted this week that Google and its relationship with the Chinese government could be a threat to America’s national security.
The claims that Google and Huawei are chummy have some merit on the surface. After all, Google and Huawei have collaborated in Android a number of times. Google and Huawei, though, are working together in Android, and it makes sense for both to go out and have drinks and dinner together in collaboration.
Huawei is not the only Android OEM Google has, though. Google collaborates with other OEMs such as LG and Samsung; surely, in Samsung’s case, few would argue that Samsung and Google are “chummy” because they go out for dinner and drinks.
Perhaps Google gave Huawei its own lab in order to work on its upcoming Nexus 6P smartphone. Maybe Google did it to give Huawei the resources it needed to help produce a great product. Maybe there’s nothing behind the lab except Google’s partnership, cooperation, and financial motivation.
At the time, Google wanted to see the Nexus 6P reach the pinnacle of success and thought that rolling out hospitable accommodations for Huawei would result in a better product. Perhaps Google would do the same for another OEM (say, LG) if LG helped produce another smartphone with the Android owner.
And yet, with the creation of a censored search engine and Google’s desire to have Huawei make its Nexus 6P, there is a hint at something more. While Huawei’s work on the Nexus 6P doesn’t sound surprising (after all, Google worked with OEMs in those days before it purchased HTC’s phone division, didn’t make smartphones by itself), what is surprising is that, according to reports after the fact, Google partnered with Huawei to help Huawei gain inroads into the US market.
After Trump issued his Executive Order in mid-May and placed Huawei on the US Entity List, Google immediately responded with an Android license revocation for Huawei — removing the company’s Mate 20 Pro from its Android Q Beta program. Google added it back some days later, but has yet to turn back Huawei’s Android license revocation that is due to go into full effect on August 19th.
Google spoke up for Huawei when national security was addressed, telling the President and administration that Huawei devices sans Google’s Android would be less secure than devices with Google’s software. Unsecure devices, communicating with Americans on other devices, could still create a national security risk.
It’s been said that Google can work with Huawei on Android software once again, that Google can grant Huawei its Android license back in light of Trump’s allowing American companies to sell to Huawei once more, but that isn’t the case. Google’s Android software is what Huawei is accused of using to spy on American citizens.
Google hasn’t issued any statements affirming that Huawei is back on track with Android Q eligibility, nor has Google announced that Huawei’s license revocation has been overturned or undone. The August 19th effective date is quickly approaching.
Perhaps Google is silent on the entire political trade war because it has nothing further to say until it gets what it sees as a “green light” to allow Huawei into Android again. But, there is always the possibility that Google is quiet on Huawei because Huawei’s decision to speak well of Android again after its financial threat speaks volumes for the losing company in this whole ordeal.