Android OEMs will need to use Google Location Service

Over at Daring Fireball, John Gruber tells us about Google's approach to controlling content on Android, quoting a brief by Skyhook Wireless in the “complaint and jury demand” they filed against Google recently.

John discusses a couple of aspects of the filing, which he describes as “not long, and… written in pretty straightforward plain language, regarding Google’s control over which devices have access to the Android Market”.   In particular he calls our attention to the way Google is tying Android to it's location service – the one made famous during the StreetView WiFi scandal:

23. On information and belief, Google has notified OEMs that they will need to use Google Location Service, either as a condition of the Android OS-OEM contract or as a condition of the Google Apps contract between Google and each OEM. Though Google claims the Android OS is open source, by requiring OEMs to use Google Location Service, an application that is inextricably bundled with the OS level framework, Google is effectively creating a closed system with respect to location positioning. Google’s manipulation suggests that the true purpose of Android is, or has become, to ensure that “no industry player can restrict or control the innovations of any other”, unless it is Google.

He bookends this with an ironic quote from Vic Gundotra, Google's Vice-President for Engineering:

If you believe in openness, if you believe in choice, if you believe in innovation from everyone, then welcome to Android.

If Google is actually forcing OEMs to hook their users into its world-wide location database it adds one more sinister note to the dark architecture of StreetView location services.

[Thanks to Cameron Westland for the heads up]

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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.