Google Location Services then returns your estimated geolocation (e.g., latitude and longitude). For a complete description of information collected and used by Google, please see the .
The information is exchanged over an encrypted connection to protect your privacy. Once Firefox has your location information, it passes it to the website that requested it. At no time is the name or location of the website you are visiting, or are any cookies, ever shared with Google Location Services.
We figured Skyhook's against Google would turn up some dirt, and we didn't have long to wait: the location-services company's complaint flatly alleges that Google's Andy Rubin ordered Motorola's Sanjay Jha to "stop ship" on the because it instead of Google Location Services, a tiff that ultimately delayed the phone's release while Moto reworked the software and dropped Skyhook entirely. Following that, Skyhook claims that Google then went after an unidentified "Company X" () and forced it to drop XPS as well -- which would certainly explain why Samsung's Galaxy S phones by default, unlike every other Android phone. Ouch.
If you're thinking that makes no sense because Android is "open," well, you might have another think coming -- Skyhook claims that Google's decisions to allow access to Android Market and its branded apps are an entirely subjective ruse based on something called the Compliance Definition Document, which can be "arbitrarily" interpreted any way Google wants with no recourse. Skyhook says that Google has now told Android OEMs that they're required to use Google Location Services, preventing Skyhook from fulfilling its contracts and costing the company millions in expected royalties.
Now, this is Skyhook's side of the story and we're sure Google will make a persuasive argument of its own, but let's just back up for a moment here and point out the obvious: Google's never, come out and clearly said what's required for devices to gain access to Android Market and the branded apps like Gmail -- even though we've been about those requirements since Android first launched. Remember when Andy Rubin told us that there would be with no carrier or handset manufacturer limitations? Or when we were told that phones or additional features wouldn't have Google branding? And then all of that ? Yes, Android might be "open" in the sense that the source code is available, but there's no doubt Google's wielded incredible power over the platform by restricting access to Market and its own apps -- power that hasn't been used to prevent carrier-mandated bloatware or poorly-done manufacturer skinning, but has instead apparently been used to block legitimate competitors like Skyhook from doing business. We're dying to hear Google's side of this story and fill in some of the gaps -- and you can bet we're digging as hard as we can for more info. Stay tuned, kids.