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Google pushing to make Android the mobile software for everything

Google Inc. is on a mission to make its Android mobile software ubiquitous.

In a series of announcements this week at its annual developer conference, Google unveiled a new version of the software for handsets and tablets, and showed it in use in smartwatches, cars and a new television service.

That puts Android, already the world’s top operating system for smartphones, not only into gadgets that people carry with them wherever they go, but also increasingly into their living rooms, onto their bodies and in how they transport themselves.

Google wants to provide a “seamless experience across all these connected devices,” Android chief Sundar Pichai said. “We’re making everything contextually aware. We want to know when you’re at home, with your kids.”

The Web-search giant is expanding Android as an underlying software foundation as it ramps up against Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and others to be a digital gatekeeper to consumers. The more that Google can connect devices, vehicles and other items with its software, the more likely it is that consumers will stick with the company for all of their user experience.

Rivals like Apple as well as Amazon are also pushing to tie more services and devices together. Earlier this month, Apple showed how its iOS software for the iPad and iPhone and its Mac operating system are increasingly working together, with a customer able to answer a call to an iPhone on his or her iMac. Apple is also looking to get into smartwatches to broaden its product ecosystem.

Last week, Amazon introduced Fire Phone, a smartphone that is closely connected to the Web retailer’s online store and library of movies plus other content.

“With Apple already in the TV and car space and rumored to be attacking wearables, Google doesn’t want developers to have any excuse to choose Apple’s ecosystem over Android,” said Carl Howe, an analyst. “Therefore, Google wants to ensure that it is in all those places too.”

Smartphones based on Android, which Google gives to hardware manufacturers free, made up 78 percent of the global industry in 2013, up from 66 percent in 2012, according to Gartner Inc. No. 2 was Apple’s iPhone, which had 16 percent, down from 19 percent.