Pixels sold by Verizon will be unlocked, receive updates when Google pushes them
One of the things people most liked to get angry about regarding Google's Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones recently was the update situation on Verizon. As you may know, if you're in the US Verizon is currently the only big carrier selling them. You can also grab a Pixel from the Google store or Project Fi, but not AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile. At least not yet.
Add to that the fact that Verizon really isn't generally known for pushing software updates quickly to its devices, plus a poorly worded statement by a Google spokesperson saying "Monthly security updates will come from Google, and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store" - and you've got yourself a scandal.
Well, it turns out that all that outrage was for nothing. Today Verizon finally decided to issue its own statement on the matter. Here it is in full:
First and foremost, all operating system and security updates to the Pixel devices will happen in partnership with Google. In other words, when Google releases an update, Verizon phones will receive the same update at the same time (much like iOS updates). Verizon will not stand in the way of any major updates and users will get all updates at the same time as Google. Also, the Verizon version of the Google Pixel is carrier unlocked, so you can use it where ever you like. Finally, we have three apps pre-installed on the phone Go90, My Verizon (which is your account management tool) and Verizon Messages (your messaging app). As you noted, all three can easily be uninstalled by the user.
This was sent to Ars Technica, and Google told the publication that "OS updates and monthly security patches will be updated on all Pixel devices (Verizon and non-Verizon versions) simultaneously", thankfully clarifying its earlier statement.
At this point you really shouldn't be worried about how soon the Pixels will get updates if you buy either one from Verizon. The iPhones sold by the carrier all get updates at the same time as those from other companies, and Big Red itself made that comparison when talking about the Pixels. What's more, surprisingly the Pixels from Verizon are being offered unlocked too, just like those from the Google store.
As for the infamous Verizon bloatware, it consists of exactly three apps, and all of them can be uninstalled. So hopefully this controversy will finally die down, letting the entire internet once again focus on how the Pixels are overpriced, have chins that are too big, and lack essential features such as wireless charging, OIS, and water resistance.