It’s amazing how sheepish that our industry has gotten lately. . One thing that my current job has taught me, is to read the fine print. A lot of applications make use of such cookie cutter Terms of Service that they are basically useless or irreverent. The ones you want to watch out for are where they sneak in a few terms that make lawyers cringe, and make people like you and me go “Huh?”.
Google released their new web browser called Chrome yesterday. Like anything the Goog publishes (similar to Apple, I guess), the world is in awe. It doesn’t matter if the product is good (Google Maps), or bad (Google Groups), or just plain ugly (Google Docs), everybody rants and raves about their products.
I decided to check out what the hub-bub is about. I’m not a big fan of FireFox, IE is OK, and Safari just has some quirks that bother me (why, oh why, can’t I change the default search to Yahoo?). The promise of a faster browsing experience is pretty neat too.
I went to download Chrome, and there wasn’t really any mention of an EULA before you download the app. I went and downloaded it, and launched the installer. Low and behold, it seems the Chrome team basically copied and pasted their TOS from Google Apps, and included some of the worst points from their agreements:
8.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service. For some of the Services, Google may provide tools to filter out explicit sexual content. These tools include the SafeSearch preference settings (see http://www.google.com/help/customize.html#safe). In addition, there are commercially available services and software to limit access to material that you may find objectionable.
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
So, essentially, with any ‘Conent’ I submit (which was very loosely defined as ‘data input into the application’), I submit a perpetual, irrevocable and non-exclusive license to do anything they want with my data. My bank account and love letters to my girlfriend would now be public information.
In doing my research for this post, I found one other person who noticed the same thing : Velvet Unraveled
So, without using this new browser, like many other Google Apps and Services, I will have to throw this one aside. I refuse to use, or avoid as much as possible, any Google service that has these TOS in place. Heh, do no Evil. I like that.