When Google Drive launched, the idea that Google would essentially own your content was brought forward by many users and reviewers. I mentioned in my article that this was likely a vague media spin, and so a few months later I revisit the situation.
Upon release of the long-awaited Google Storage and the constantly rumored options that would be available, most of what we saw was in relation to the terms, and of course the comparisons with similar avenues such as Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Dropbox
Ultimately, whatever Google says or does will be the result of criticism but what still sparks me as peculiar is Google’s price structure. Microsoft is still cheaper.
So what happened to the notion that Google’s terms claim to take the ownership and rights away from you and perhaps distribute your content? Well it did say that, and it still does. However, the terms are still so very unclear and generic that one could say that it’s a misrepresentation whilst the other could say it’s a clever plot to own all of your happy snaps.
Whilst Google’s terms say:
Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
Except for material that we license to you, we don’t claim ownership of the content you provide on the service. Your content remains your content.
I use cloud services, but only to a limit – trust me, I don’t want photos of my relatives and friends sitting in my Picasa account, nor do I want that on Facebook and I certainly don’t want my documents, receipts and business paraphernalia to be sitting on Google’s – or anyone else’s for that matter – server. Seriously though, if you do want to live with the benefits of having access to your storage from anywhere in the world then consider investing in a small home or office server, that way you know exactly where it is and you set the terms.
I live by the opinions that if you don’t want somebody to own your property, don’t give it to them. SkyNET only exists if you imagine it does.
So whilst Google affirms everything you upload is forever yours, the slightly hypocritical sounding term states otherwise:
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 we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
So yes, the vocabulary used indeed smears a depiction that might create the fear that uploaders’ documents and photos could end up in a Google advertisement but after exchanging multiple emails with Google’s support team, it would seem to be bad wording on their part.
According to Google – Google isn’t saying that it preserves exclusive rights to your content, it’s saying that you give them the right to adjust it for reasons catering to your own benefit such as generating thumbnails of your photos, translating documents and relocating the files (physically, as in upgrades or repairs to data servers).
Maybe I am sounding too pro-Google, but we have to note that Google’s policy is about filling every tiny little technicality to prevent them from being liable in court. In a professional manner, if I were to repair your computer without you agreeing to terms including the removal or safe-keeping of your private data then you could royally rape me with the legal system.
The vagueness covers Google Drive because it is not a Google Drive policy – it’s an overall policy.