Remember a couple weeks ago when we were talking about Google's new weapon in the Android upgrade battle? How Google was little by little pulling out the pieces that make up Android and offering them as standalone apps any user can install?

Don't look now, but another sign of Android's expanding deconstruction has shown up at our doorsteps. Google announced last night it would start offering the stock Android keyboard -- now known simply as Google Keyboard -- as a standalone download in the Google Play Store. In fact, if you have a phone or tablet running Android 4.0 or higher, it may have already appeared on your device as an update.

Seems pretty insignificant in and of itself, I realize. But let's take a minute to add everything up and look at this in the big picture.

At this point, Google now maintains the following core elements of the Android operating system outside of the actual operating system:

Gmail
Google Calendar
Chrome (which replaced the original OS-integrated Android Browser)
Hangouts (which replaced the original OS-integrated Google Talk)
YouTube
Google Search
Voice Search
Sound Search
Google Maps
Google Earth
Google+
Google Play Music, Books, Movies, and Magazines
Google Currents
Google Wallet
Google Keyboard
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--jeremy