Court: Google did no evil in blocking use of competing location application on Android phones

The Massachusetts Appeals Court today tossed a lawsuit by Skyhook Wireless of South Boston against Google, saying the company failed to prove Google maliciously tried to keep its location services off Android phones in 2009 and 2010.

If anything, the court ruled, the fault was entirely Skyhook's, for failing to ensure its software would work properly with the application programming interfaces Google wrote for determining the location of an Android phone.

In fact, the court said, Google told one phone vendor - Motorola - it was free to install Skyhook's XPS software on its Android phones, if Skyhook could get it to work with Google's own location services, which are installed on all Android phones. When Skyhook failed to prove that was the case, the court ruled, Google was entirely within its rights, based on a contract Motorola had signed with it, to insist Motorola not ship phones with Skyhook software installed.

After the execution of the Motorola-Skyhook contract, there was considerable discussion within and between these two companies as to whether XPS was Android-compatible. This discussion was prompted by the fact that XPS was configured to report "hybrid" location data-- information derived not only from GPS satellites, but from the network data obtained using cell towers and Wi-Fi networks - through Google's GPS Provider API, which was described in Google's SDK as delivering satellite data alone. ...

With respect to the data collection issue, in order to ship their devices with the Android trademark and Google's proprietary GMS Apps, the manufacturers were contractually obliged to leave [Google's] GMS Apps fully functional. When Skyhook conditioned Motorola's use of the revised version of XPS on Motorola's removal of [Google] NLP's data collection function, Google was entitled, under its contract with Motorola, to insist upon the "accurate reproduction" of Google applications, including NLP.

Also, the court ruled Skyhook has no claim against Google under the Massachusetts consumer-protection law because

At the relevant time, Google's headquarters was in California, Motorola's headquarters was in Illinois, and Samsung's headquarters was in South Korea. All of Google's allegedly unfair or deceptive acts, including its communications, both physical and electronic, occurred outside the Commonwealth. Although Massachusetts would be the situs of any royalty revenue lost to Skyhook from the sale to Massachusetts consumers of XPS-enabled Motorola and Samsung Android devices, that factor alone does not suffice to bring this dispute within the ambit of c. 93A, particularly in light of the global marketplace for such devices.


Man dead in domestic double shooting in Hyde Park

Boston Police report one of the two men found shot at 226 Margaretta Dr. in the Georgetowne development Tuesday night died after being transported to Brigham and Women's Hospital. The other man remains hospitalized.

"At this point the incident appears to be domestic in nature and not a random act," police say.

This is the small street's second murder this year.


Boston's lost Jewish neighborhood reunites on Facebook

Jeff Rubin, whose family was one of the last Jewish families to leave the area along Blue Hill Avenue in 1970, reports on a diaspora reunited in a Facebook group:

Jews are famous for their exiles and the Dorchester-Mattapan dispersion is just another example. Thanks to the Facebook page we can experience the lost culture of that neighborhood once again, enjoy the friendships, and find some closure for this formative chapter of our lives.


How a Pacific typhoon could mean snow for us

Eric Fisher discusses Typhoon Nuri, which could slam into the Aleutians soon - after possibly generating 55-foot-high waves. So? He explains how the storm could change atmospheric patterns enough to send a major cold wave and maybe, just maybe, some snow our way next week.


Harvard turns panopticon: School photographed students, teachers in class without permission

The Crimson reports on a faculty meeting got a little testy when professors wanted to know why the world's greatest university was surveilling them and students. A muckymuck said it was part of a study by one group of researchers on student class attendance.

Prior to beginning the study, Bol said, he was given approval by Harvard’s Institutional Review Board, a federally mandated body that assesses academic research. According to Bol, members of that committee said that his work “did not constitute human subjects research,” and, as such, did not require notification or permission of those involved.


The Athens of America finally gets a school for high fliers

The Suffolk Journal reports on the new West End home of the New York Trapeze School:

The facility boasts a full flying trapeze set, training equipment, mats, safety equipment, and a trampoline. TSNY is providing trapeze artists and students with more room than ever to stretch their legs and go far beyond their expectations of what flying really is.


Two shot in Charlestown

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 21:40

UPDATE: One of the two victims, Ryan Morrissey, died

Around 9:40 p.m. outside 274 Main St. At least one of the victim's injuries were severe enough to have the homicide unit called in, just in case.


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