Google Drive – You will be assimilated

Used under creative commons from mikeurbanski on Flickr


 
On the 24th April, Google finally launched their new cloud storage service, Google Drive offering 5GB of storage space for free with paid upgrades available. The cloud storage market is a crowded one, with players offering backup services, sync or simple storage; so I was thinking, those guys at Google better have a differentiator… It turns out they do, and it’s quite a serious one, it’s in the T&C’s (March 2012).
 

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

 
You might want to read that again. I’ll wait…
 
OK, so now you’ve had time to digest that, it’s worth pointing out that the terms go on to specify further:
 
The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.” (my emphasis), and finish with a flourish… “This licence continues even if you stop using our Services.”
 
Compare that with the terms from Trend Micro’s own SafeSync service “Trend Micro does not claim any ownership rights in your files” (not to mention we encrypt all your data in storage too) you can appreciate why Google’s universal policy is so troubling to me.
 
Google recently unified their Terms & Conditions along with their Privacy and other policies, that is the reason they refer constantly to “our Services” (although I have to admit to being baffled by the capital S). So consider the implications of this if you’re a mail, apps, YouTube, maps and social networking customer of Google. The privacy policy that applies to all of them, including your lovely new storage says ”We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services“.
 

I’m sure that the assertion of perpetual, world-wide rights over their customers’ intellectual property and the use cases of promoting, improving or developing new services based on that content is just the result of over-zealous lawyers attempting to head any potential future law-suit off at the proverbial pass rather than an outright attempt to go against their in formal motto “Don’t be evil“.
 
The more I think about it, the Borg weren’t really evil either, right? Just improving their Services.
 

11 thoughts on “Google Drive – You will be assimilated

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  8. Uncle Ron

    Just how does the following statement jibe with “What’s yours stays yours?” The following statement is pretty darn clear that Google now OWNS your stuff:

    “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations, or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display, and distribute such content.”

    This is pretty cut and dried to me. NO MATTER WHAT YOU OR GOOGLE EXECS -SAY- THE CONTRACT TERMS APPLY.

    Right?

    Uncle Ron

    Reply
  9. Steven Maske

    I’d like to point out that the same section of the TOS says, “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.” I’m not defending Google, just saying that this seems to be overlooked by most. I elaborated here: maskedcrusader.net

    Reply
  10. jmb98115

    You’re free to use any other email, file, photo, map, or content service that you’d like, but good luck finding another (free and reliable) service with more-agreeable terms.

    Comparing the policy to your own is absurd, unless you also provide data hosting and the same scope of services.

    Reply

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