Google’s Terms of Service May Scare Users Away From Google Drive

When it comes to personal cloud storage, we have a lot of choices. We showed you guys a comparison by the numbers of various cloud services going head to head with Google Drive based on price point. But here’s something we may have overlooked — terms of service. Ah, yes. That small, fine print you usually skip over when signing up for some kind of online service. Dropbox recently gave theirs an overhaul, presenting their ToS in easy to read, plain English. And while Google may have largely followed suit, removing most of the “legal speak” from their ToS, users still may not feel comfortable uploading all their content to Google’s cloud after reading it through. Theoretically, it appears as if Google could take all your of your uploaded content and make out like a bandit. Have a read for yourself:

Google

“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.”

Doesn’t exactly put users fears to rest, does it? Once you upload it, it becomes sole property of Google. In comparison, lets take a look at some of the competition like Dropbox and Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

Dropbox

“By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below.”

SkyDrive

“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. We also don’t control, verify, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the service.”

Now, these differences in terms of service was originally posted on TheVerge Forums (Microsoft Tribe) where the OP was urging others to avoid Google Drive based on their terms of service posted above. What’s interesting is they forgot a little paragraph before the one quoted above that says,

“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.”

Well, doesn’t sound so scary after all…

What do you guys think? Keep in mind, this covers all of Google’s other services as well such as Gmail and Picasa, etc.. and while we don’t really expect Google to take the kind of action listed in their terms, this could be a red flag for those who are more cautious about where they upload their content to. After reading this through, are any of you feeling a little apprehensive about going all-in with Google Drive?

[Google Terms of Service | TheVerge Forums (Microsoft Tribe) | Via Reddit]

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  • james flamez

    Im deleting my gmail as we speak
    …..no google drive for me!

    • http://profiles.google.com/meadowsjared Jared Meadows

      LOL

    • John

      ya. you’re right. we should prob go use yahoo mail

      /s

      • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

        Nah, bruh.. #AOL4LIFE

        • John

          hah. good memories with aol & the dial up days ;)

        • Julius P

          no wai, hotmail is da hot thang now.

    • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/fd6cdeba-3264-11e1-bc45-000bcdca4d7a ingua2

      too much xfiles.

  • http://wondroushippo.com/ Carter Dotson

    Has everyone with anything to think about technology lost their minds?! Read the whole section, or at least the sentence right before and right after the section you quoted. Google outlines that users still own their content, and that they will only use the rights to the content for their services alone. It’s all misplaced hysteria.

    • Matthew Merrick

      i can’t upvote your comment enough. 

      the baseless levels of google-hate/fear i see in some parts of the internet astound me, and i feel sad to see it spread to phandroid

    • warcaster

      Someone started spreading those exact same quotes all over the Internet, and now even Phandroid bought into it. They should’ve at least looked for the whole part of the ToS.

      By the way, Chris, if you took it from TheVerge forums, the whole part is already posted by someone in the comments.

      • spicymeatball

        What this does say is that they will use their services to index and catalog content so that they can try and send ads your way that pertain to your content.  As far as I’m concerned it’s no different than with gmail, google docs, and any other service.  They want to be able to find out more about you to target you with ads.  Most of us don’t care as long as it’s not used to steal our intellectual property.

    • http://www.androidradar.de/ Leif

      So true. It’s the same like G+. 

      People keep their rights on the files. Google is just getting the permission for the service you offer. 

      For example they need to use and modify the files to create the previews or do the OCR. 

      Good example for G+
      https://plus.google.com/u/0/107925739432643818438/posts/BAkpfNLMC91 

  • sciwizam
  • David Brennan

    I can also lift stuff from The Verge forums.
    Seriously? Are you distorting reality on purpose, or did you just read what you wanted to read?Terms of all those services are way more closer than what you’re trying to imply.DropboxBy using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below.
    We may need your permission to do things you ask us to do with your stuff, for example, hosting your files, or sharing them at your direction. This includes product features visible to you, for example, image thumbnails or document previews. It also includes design choices we make to technically administer our Services, for example, how we redundantly backup data to keep it safe. You give us the permissions we need to do those things solely to provide the Services. This permission also extends to trusted third parties we work with to provide the Services, for example Amazon, which provides our storage space (again, only to provide the Services).SkydriveExcept 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. We also don’t control, verify, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the service.
    You control who may access your content. If you share content in public areas of the service or in shared areas available to others you’ve chosen, then you agree that anyone you’ve shared content with may use that content. When you give others access to your content on the service, you grant them free, nonexclusive permission to use, reproduce, distribute, display, transmit, and communicate to the public the content solely in connection with the service and other products and services made available by Microsoft. If you don’t want others to have those rights, don’t use the service to share your content. 
    You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service.Google DriveSome 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.
    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. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.Emphasis added to show that I could have picked and choosed extracts to make the exact opposite point the OP tried to make.

    • John

      no tl;dr ? :(

    • axion101

      That’s the reality. If they actually bothered to read through all of their TOS statements they all say the same thing: You own your content, but you also give us permission to use the content to improve/operate our services.  

      It’s funny to me.  People are sooo “afraid” of Google because of privacy concerns. Yet, out of all the companies Google is the only one that uses plain English, is upfront and honest about what it means to use their services. Example: I know that Google can track me (they tell you), but Apple chooses to hide their algorithms.

  • Jake Achee

    I think this is BS.. just because I upload a file to Google Drive does not mean I want to hand over ownership. I’m sure the vast majority of users will agree with my stance and probably won’t even know that it’s happening.. Sorry Google, I wanted to like Drive but this is definitely a concern. Dropbox has Drive bested in most areas.. with the exception of storage space/price. Even Dropbox’s Android application is vastly superior. The main thing Drive has for it is how it fits in with the rest of Google’s ecosystem. From a privacy perspective, it’s probably best not giving Google ownership of your entire digital life.

    • ScottColbert

      Did you even bother to read the whole post, or are you simply incapable of comprehending what you read?

      • Nicholas Vettese

         No, because he is an iTard

  • flibblesan

    Phandroid spreading FUD by casually ignoring the sentence before the paragraph quoted which is: “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.”

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I included that in the quote. But since you, and maybe a few others might have missed it, gave it its own paragraph to highlight it. :)

      • ScottColbert

        Sadly, it seems many don’t get past the headline. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/Daniel.d.Cardenas Daniel Cardenas

    Absurd.  Becomes sole property of google?  What do you think this means?
    … In short, what belongs to you stays yours. …

  • RampageDeluxe

    Are you trying to lose credibility here Phandroid? You sure lost it with me. 

  • Julius P

    i like google and android, but history has shown that a monopoly of anything can’t be good.

    So, diversifying to amazon and apple for some of their services does not seem so bad in spirit of competition (until they become duopoly or triopoly, then we’re all screwed).

  • jackdubl

    A license to use does not equal sole ownership, closer to joint ownership. Still too much for me.

  • Tommy Thompson

    Here for the new fancy Disqus…ooohhhhhhh

    • John

      I don’t think it’s been rolled out yet, no?

      • Tommy Thompson

        No, it was a preview I guess. Just kinda popped up. Looks nice though.

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          It came and went. =(

          • Tommy Thompson

            It was nice while it lasted. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/iamgingergarcia Ginger Garcia

    Yay, I will stick with SkyDrive instead. Im lucky enough to have get 25GB storage from skydrive, I just register a day before the announced that existing SkyDrive users will get 25GB

  • David MacDonald

    Get rid of this FUD crap. This is the kind of sloppy reporting that makes me skeptical of nearly everything I read on Phandroid.

    They need those permissions to do things like convert your files to editable Google Docs formats, display them on web pages for other people (like Picasa or G+), resize images for display in different formats, etc. There is nothing nefarious here; move along. 

    They could not have been clearer that you own the rights to your stuff. Please, retract this article as soon as possible.

    • Torish

      Umm… finish reading the post. Feel free to respond once you do.

      • David MacDonald

        I appreciate your condescension, but the last few sentences don’t excuse the FUD in all the others.

        • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randroid

          They were simply trying to show you how the other sites came to the conclusion they came to, then refuted that conclusion at the end by basically saying “They forgot to read the part that says you still own all of your stuff”

  • MarcusDW

    Sooo they do or don’t spy on our uploaded stuff?  

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      They don’t anymore than they “spy” on our Gmail, Picasa or Google+ content.

  • Ryan O’Neill

    Who really reads the Terms of Service anyway?

    • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/fd6cdeba-3264-11e1-bc45-000bcdca4d7a ingua2

      fearmongerers whose job it is to selectively copy/paste parts of it on websites.

    • Aslan Bollin

      uhm, smart people that don’t wish tobe screwed over due to the fine print.  o_O?
      Has noone ever taught you to read an agreement/contract before signing it? No?
      I got a million dollars for you, just sign right here on the dotted line first. You dont need to read it first right?….
      It’s a lesson you might want to learn.

  • kris

    Im pretty sure any ToS you read, says almost the exact thing…..Why does everyone just read what hey want to read?

  • AJA0

    Basically, if you don’t own the copyright and you upload it, then Google owns copyright, and you’re screwed.

    • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/fd6cdeba-3264-11e1-bc45-000bcdca4d7a ingua2

      I suspect you don’t know what copyright means.  It’s ok… there’s always Google.

  • Jaswinder Singh

    Google isn’t forcing anyone to download the Drive. Do it or don’t

    • yankeesrule587

      Funny you should mention that. They are actually. I got some updates on my phone this morning, and noticed Google Drive had an update. So im scratching my head saying “when did i download Drive ?to get an update”  So I checked my installed apps and it wasnt there so Google just slipped it into my updates. I can only guess its a standard part of Google apps now. So they can force you to download it, but they cant force you to use it, lol. I wanted it anyways. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Filardo/100000615766378 Greg Filardo

        Google Drive is replacing Google Docs, you probably had Google Docs.

  • JulianZHuang

    who would stupid enough to pull porn and “borrowed” music on those cloud storage haha 

    • malcmilli

      why cant i put my porn on the cloud?

  • DavidVarghese

    either way I don’t trust any cloud service with my files..  I just upload school homework/notes on my dropbox.. everything else goes straight to the sd card.

    • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/fd6cdeba-3264-11e1-bc45-000bcdca4d7a ingua2

      so basically you’re lying.  You are uploading homework and notes to a cloud service which you claim you don’t trust.   Is this the new “my dog ate my homework”?   Your fearmongering lacks focus.    I’ve used Dropbox for years with gigs of data and have never had issues.  Not one.  If you don’t trust them that much you wouldn’t use Dropbox.   An SD card is not remotely related to this.   

  • iSlackerz

    It’s sort of insane how many people only seemed to either A) only read the headline and maybe the first paragraph or two and/or B) read the whole article but lack the reading comprehension capabilities to understand that Chris first pointed out the FUD and subsequently squashed. 

    Extremely asinine.

  • louie

    @Chris Chavez

    Why were 2 of my comments deleted bruh?

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      You tell me, Lou. O_o

      Wait- what? Your comment is still there. Not only that, you seem to forget something. I’m not a “tech journalist.” I’m a blogger/Android enthusiast with a love for tech who happens to write up news around the net that I not only I find interesting, but I think would be interesting to our readers as well.

      Occasionally, I write up reviews, make silly videos and educate people on the finer things of Android. That’s me. That’s what I do.

  • jojo753

    Is everyone who’s outraged by google’s terms of service aware that the verge.com and CNET have terms of service that are very similar to google’s?

  • Marclonus

    Like any fanatics in any religion, Microsoft took what they wanted people to read and manipulated the context to miss-lead ignorant people.

  • https://profiles.google.com/mrrix32 Martin Rix

    At NO POINT does it say Google takes ownership.

    It says you grant them a LICENCE, not ownership. Not even an exclusive licence.

    Reasons for the uses:
    Use, host, store: Obvious
    Reproduce: Backup
    Modify, create derivative works: Convert to Google Docs format, Resizing photos etc
    Communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display, distribute: Sharing (If you ask them to)
    How do you expect them to provide a service if you don’t allow them to do anything?

    • Jeff D

      Google’s TOS should spell out what they can use the license for instead of leaving it for the user to interpret.

  • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randroid

    Sounds like a lot of you commenters need to read THE ENTIRE ARTICLE before commenting. If you did, you’d realize that the article is more than just a headline.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EF545LL7BGCJSGHMM5GZRMBQFE yahoo-EF545LL7BGCJSGHMM5GZRMBQFE

    Won’t somebody think of the children?!?!?!?!

  • EarlyMon

    Do I detect that you have your own blog?

  • tizzyzz

    If anyone is worried about who owns what encrypt your stuff at least its safe from.some prying eyes. I use box dropbox untunu and minus all my files are encrypted before sending to them with a 30char password am I 100% safe no but i feel better knowing it’s harder to get and view what i upload

  • zoozie

    What absolute FUD…

    The article’s name fools you into thinking this is about something else. And then one little paragraph to make it right.

    C’mon.. this is reporting at it’s cheapest. It’s like I’m reading BusinessInsider.com. 

    Phandroid is definitely pulling all the wrong strings here and if they keep it up, I will definitely be removing that bookmark. 

  • No_Nickname90

    LoL!! I just read through the comments. Apparently ppL think that Phandroid is saying that Google is trying to be “evil”. EVERYBODY who said that is trollin’ and wrong. There’s this little paragraph at the end that says Google isn’t being “evil”.

    Why didn’t anybody read that? I mean how are you going to talk about Phandroid when they blatantly stated that nothing is wrong and all those other sites are just spreading rumors and false truths?

    This shows that a lot of ppL don’t read and are quick to jump to conclusions. How sad.

    • EarlyMon

      Welcome, you must be new here.

      The main things to do here are to post without reading and then read and post about grammar and spelling errors, then post about how Samsung is the best, then argue with HTC fans, then get fight with iPhone trolls, and finally – talk to the spambots. This is required posting for any topic. Oh, and then blame Chris if you decide to swear and one of a dozen mods decides it doesn’t belong here.

      Cheers! :D