According to confidential contracts obtained by The Information, phonemakers like Samsung and HTC need to include a whole lot of Google-branded widgets and icons to be allowed to include Google's Play Store. The requirements in the contracts show that Google is demanding cushier placement for its apps and services than it used to.
One requirement: Phones need to show a "Google" icon that opens to a collection of 13 apps.Some are genuinely useful, like YouTube, Google Maps, Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Chrome. Others like Photos and Hangouts aren't essential, but still good.
But apps like Google+, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies, Google Play Books, Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Games, are all required, and I'd guess that plenty of Android users would rather not have these B-team apps automatically included. Show me one person who genuinely wants the Google+ app pre-installed on her phone and I will show you someone who is insane.
Google Street View, Google Voice Search, and Google Calendar must also be on the phone, though they aren't included in the "Google" collection. Google also has the option to show its logo onscreen as the device starts.
This would all be less annoying if you could just delete the apps and pretend this never happened. But you can't. You can disable them, and uninstall updates, but much of this mixed-bag bonanza of Google-branded apps will still be dead digital weight, taking up (a relatively small, but still existent amount of) memory and probably doing less to convince you to use Google's services, and more to make you wish they weren't all up in your face. [The Information via Android Central]