Ahh, Droid. We barely knew ye . . .

This week, Google introduced a version of Google Earth for Android SmartPhones. In large part, I don’t care; Google Earth is very cool, but compared to Google Maps it has limited real-world use.

And Google Earth requires version 2.1 of the Android operating system. Which means that it won’t run on the Droid, which has been available for just over three months.

Aside from being a Droid user and being in sour-grapes mode, maybe you think I shouldn’t care. You’d be wrong. Android is the fastest-growing operating system for SmartPhones, and Google is splintering the market for that operating system, which like Google Earth and the Nexus One is also a Google product.

Operating Systems don’t do very well when they get splintered this way. Just the introduction of viruses that act differently on one version than on another is all the proof you need of that. In fact, be cynical if you like about the Microsofts of the world being after your money, but the real reason you have to eventually upgrade to a new version of Windows  even if you think you don’t need it is because unless you do you’re open to all kinds of security threats.

I sometimes pick on Apple for the heavy-handed way they control the Macintosh OS and iPhone OS, but users of both sure do get consistent behavior, don’t they?

Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” slogan is feeling more and more like a line of . . . nothing. And as a business consultant I understand that they need to make (lots of) money. But to be as involved in the marketing of the Droid as Google was and after such a short period of time leave its users behind as they try to sell more Google-branded phones (the Droid is supported by Motorola, not Google) is just . . . bad. Evil. Wrong.

By the way: while Google Earth officially requires Android 2.1, People who use Android 2.01 can get it to work by going here.

You know . . . assuming there’s no virus.

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