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Reading Google Chrome's Fine Print 607

Posted by kdawson
from the here-be-tygers dept.
Much ink and many electrons are being spilled over Google's Chrome browser (discussed here twice in recent days): from deep backgrounders to performance benchmarks to its vulnerability to a carpet-bombing flaw. The latest angle to be explored is Chrome's end-user license agreement. It does not look consumer-friendly. "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."
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Reading Google Chrome's Fine Print

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  • by DrEldarion (114072) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:08AM (#24856261)

    I doubt this has anything to do with Chrome. It's taken straight out of their Google Accounts terms: https://www.google.com/accounts/TOS?hl=en [google.com]

    See point 11.1.

  • Use Chromium (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:14AM (#24856281)

    I suggest you use the OpenSource version of Chrome , which is BSD licensed and has no EULA you need to agree to.

    I think they made this separation of Chrome and Chromium to keep the "Chrome" brand under their control while still making the browser open source.

    Builds:
    http://build.chromium.org/buildbot/snapshots/

    Info:
    http://www.chromium.org

  • by tirerim (1108567) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:17AM (#24856301)
    Even if it's part of their generic license, how it applies to Chrome is still important. What does "submitting, posting, or displaying" even mean in the context of a browser? It seems at least slightly plausible that could be interpreted to include personally generated content that the user views with the browser. I hope that it doesn't really work that way, but I am not a lawyer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:18AM (#24856305)

    Prepare to be even less impressed and look at the V8 src, they only have codegen for ia32 and arm. Plenty of hardcoded platform specific (windows) guff in the browser codebase too.

    This stuff might have been acceptable in 2003 but it's -DEPIC_FAIL for 2008.

  • So far so good. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Blimey85 (609949) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:18AM (#24856307)
    I'm using it right now just to try it out. I'm a huge Firefox fan and have been for several years now. I started using Firefox back when it was just a beta, long before version 1 finally hit. As a web programmer I think I use Firefox more than any other program and I've really come to like it. It does have a few issues that I'd like to see resolved however, and I think Chrome might be going in the right direction. Memory usage in Firefox is nuts and always has been. After browsing for a couple of hours I can close all tabs and still use nearly 400 megs of memory. That's a serious problem. Sure I can restart Firefox at that point and get the memory back, but I shouldn't need to. Also, when Firefox is using more than 300 megs on my machine, it starts to slow down. I had a gig and a half in my computer so I thought maybe I needed more. I bought another gig and brought my total to 2.5 gigs, yet Firefox still begins to crap out around the 300 meg threshold.

    From the comic it seems like Google really wants to take a new approach to how browsers deal with memory and I think Firefox could learn from that. Is that enough to make me switch? No, not at all. I rely on a number of Firefox extensions and unless Google makes Chrome compatible with Firefox extensions, or comes up with their own system and then develops a tool to auto-port Firefox extensions, I don't think a lot of people are going to switch. Back when I was running 1.5.3 (I think it was .3) and had a number of stability issues I might have given Chrome serious consideration but I only installed it tonight to see what it's all about. When I'm done playing it's back to Firefox I go.
  • by BeNJ-GoS (592137) * on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:27AM (#24856345) Journal
    Works fine for me, including import of everything from FF3 and the Options menu using XP64... (Not impressed at the moment compared to FF3)
  • by FilterMapReduce (1296509) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:29AM (#24856353)

    Google has announced that Chrome is to be open source. If this has the conventional meaning of being licensed under an OSI-approved license, or anything remotely resembling one, then a EULA would be redundant and unenforceable. (Even if Google tried to exercise some implicit contractual terms around the use of Chrome, someone could simply exercise the permissions given under the open source license to repackage the code under a different name with no EULA.)

    I'm not going to RTFA at this hour, but the only reasonable interpretation is that the terms in question apply only to Google's services and not the browser software itself. Anything else would be audacious even for a company without Google's mostly good reputation.

  • by speedtux (1307149) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:35AM (#24856385)

    I think you're jumping to conclusions; that is Google's usual "content license", and something they need in order to offer services to you. I don't know how you think it applies to the browser. If you're trying to imply that Google is attempting to claim that everything you do with Chrome belongs to them, you're wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:41AM (#24856405)

    This thing is lighting up my firewall constantly, during install, operation and uninstall.

    Even after uninstall it leaves GoogleUpdate.exe installed and running and pinging google every hour.

    I'm sticking with Firefox 3.1's javascript compiler instead:
    http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/latest-trunk/

  • Re:guff? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:56AM (#24856481)

    I think... I think he's trying to communicate with us, but I can't quite make out what he's saying.

    Please do feel free to look up [google.com] any short, monosyllabic, four letter words that are above your level of reading comprehension.

    "Growser" is currently Windows only. It's got hard coded registry access and other such retardation throughout the code. Where you might think lib/ the chromium developers think chrome_dll/ and so on.

  • by Idaho (12907) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:02AM (#24856525)

    There's a difference between having an EULA for google services and an EULA for google browser and they should be different.

    Here is the privacy policy for Chrome: http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/privacy.html [google.com]

    It does not mention the terms in this article, which clearly seem related to google services and not the browser.

    Mind you, the privacy policy does mention unique ID's for each browser, and sending them to google every time you start the browser. Also, Chrome automatically installs a GoogleUpdate executable and adds it to your autoruns; I really hate it when applications do that. So it's still pretty bad, but not in exactly the way this "article" makes it out to be.

  • Re:Misread much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by zby (398682) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:13AM (#24856589) Homepage

    Right at the beginning of the EULA you have definition of the word Service - as it is used in that document:

    Google Chrome Terms of Service

    These Terms of Service apply to the executable code version of Google Chrome. Source code for Google Chrome is available free of charge under open source software license agreements at http://code.google.com/chromium/terms.html [google.com].

    1. Your relationship with Google

    1.1 Your use of Googleâ(TM)s products, software, services and web sites (referred to collectively as the âoeServicesâ in this document and excluding any services provided to you by Google under a separate written agreement) is subject to the terms of a legal agreement between you and Google.

    So when in the point 9.1. they use the word 'Service' it clearly means: "products, software, services and web sites" and that includes Chrome.

  • Unfortunately not (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:19AM (#24856617)

    Because the LGPL only applies to the library itself.

    Since you can take the library and use it under another application which doesn't have this EULA, the LGPL is bypassed.

    One reason why the readline libraries are GPL. The authors don't want to help someone who doesn't want to help their customers.

    "It's been 35 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment"

  • by wildstoo (835450) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:28AM (#24856665)
    The source is available now [chromium.org], and from what I understand they're using the BSD License [google.com].
  • Re:Use Chromium (Score:4, Informative)

    by sd.fhasldff (833645) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:47AM (#24856729)

    Considering the MASSIVE javascript speed improvements Mozilla have achieved using "hotpath" techniques, I think it's unlikely (these improvements are not yet in stable release). On the other hand, the description of V8 from the Google Comic seem to indicate that they do something along the same lines, by dynamically compiling parts of the script to "machine code" (as they say). Without specifics, it's difficult to compare the approaches, though...

    And, by the way, this optimizing is also why there is "IE32" and "ARM" specific code in Chrome. There has to be. That's integral to how hotpath-type techniques work.

  • by Peet42 (904274) <Peet42@NetscapFO ... t minus language> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:54AM (#24856759)

    I fired up my Linux box and went to the Chrome homepage. It said "Windows only".

    So, I wired up my Windows 2000 box and went to the homepage. It now said "XP/Vista only".

    Why couldn't they have said that on the Linux version? It would have saved me a frustrating fifteen minutes of crawling around plugging inn video cables.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:05AM (#24856819)

    Worked fine for me on XP x64. Probably something wrong with your system.

    That said, I uninstalled it immediately due to some big annoyances:

    1) I could not find a download for a local installer, instead it forces you to download an installer stub that downloads and installs the browser.

    2) It did not let me choose where to install it. Instead it automatically installed into documents and settings\user\local settings\application data\google without so much as a prompt.

    3) It added a "Google updater" to my startup programs without asking me if that was ok or even telling me about it.

    4) When I uninstalled it, it didn't remove all of its files and didn't even clean out the startup entry for the aforementioned updater. I had to remove those things manually.

    Sorry Google, I don't like it when software tries to take control away from me and doesn't notify me of system changes. These are the kinds of things that will keep me far away from Chrome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:36AM (#24856993)

    The license is called "Google Chrome Terms of Service" which "apply to the executable code version of Google Chrome". It differs from Google's generic terms in at least para 1.2 (open source licenses may over-rule it). In 1.1 it applies to your use of Google's "Services", which means: "products, software, services and web sites", not content: services and web sites are included but software clearly is too. The license applies to the executable code, so presumably we would need explicit words to indicate when a part of it does not apply to that software. 11.1 applies to "Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services". "By submitting, posting or displaying" this content, you grant Google their open-ended license. Why would a free-standing (it runs without IP connectivity) web browser software license need content license terms applicable to unrelated Google online services? Their intentions are not clear, the drafting is opaque. The plain words of the license do appear to give Google the license people are concerned about. If this is not what they mean they should offer a software license, not imply that by using it you are buying into the whole Google suite and package.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:54AM (#24857085)

    Many open source licenses only deal with the source code, they are silent on binaries.

    Google Chrome is licensed under the BSD License [google.com] (as someone else pointed out) which says:

    Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met...

  • by zby (398682) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:04AM (#24857151) Homepage

    Here is the link for you: http://www.google.com/chrome/eula.html [google.com] And the referenced text is there.

  • by Vectronic (1221470) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:10AM (#24857187)

    Agreed, so far I dont see anything that either Opera or Firefox can't do... not to mention that Chrome is twice the size of Opera, and almost 3 times as large as Firefox with less functionality.

    Also that it installs into ..\Documents and Settings\%UserName%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\* annoying.

    From which I tried finding the EULA as was too lazy to read it during setup, and it doesnt seem to be there, nor within the application itself, seems to only be at http://www.google.com/chrome/eula.html [google.com]

    Although I do find it too cute/clean/simple, currently it seems more directed at mobiles than desktops, or maybe im just more fond of options than some, although I was/am fairly impressed with its speed, currently there are too few options, and annoyances (basically meaning im not used to them) it does have some good though, like the "Element Inspector" is quick and easy, but the seperate process rather than seperate threads, is IMHO crap frankly... 15-20MB's extra memory and 2 threads for each.

    120MB's and some 40 threads, and 7 processes to open 7 Google.com's...

    45MB's and 35 threads, one process to do the same in Opera (Although Slashdot is open aswell, and its been open for about 2 weeks, might change on a clean run)

    35MB's and 15 threads, one process in Firefox...

    But this is a Beta, and a rather early one at that, it does have potential for some people.

  • by ari_j (90255) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:19AM (#24857259)
    For your statistical pleasure: http://slashdot.org/tags/kdawsonsucks [slashdot.org]
  • by untree (851145) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:20AM (#24857265)

    Removing might be harder (but unnecessary) than this, but the following will prevent the service from loading:

    Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services

    Find the Google Update Service, select Properties from the right-click menu, and Disable.

  • by Swizec (978239) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:30AM (#24857373) Homepage
    Yes, I understand they are/might be, but I don't care because I post here knowing full well I'm adding content to slashdot and don't even really care who owns the post. But if my browser had an EULA saying everything I do using it becomes somebody's property (or whatever) I'd have a real problem using it to post to my blog, access my bank etc. etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:31AM (#24857385)

    Chrome is Google's private, closed-source browser. Chromium is the open-source (BSD-licensed) project from which Chrome takes some of its code. Chromium is completely non-operational at this point in time (ie. it doesn't run), as it's very early days on the open-source project. Chrome in contrast is very nicely operational already, since its code is not the same as that being put together by the Chromium folks.

    And the key point here is that Chrome and Chromium have completely different licenses, therefore your comment is entirely worthless.

  • by dkegel (904729) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:38AM (#24857439) Homepage
    Google's looking into this issue now, thanks to everybody who reported it.
  • by savuporo (658486) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:46AM (#24857515)

    Valid point. More importantly,

    http://dev.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/getting-started [chromium.org]

    And for the impatient, here is the meat of it

    gclient config http://src.chromium.org/svn/trunk/src/chrome [chromium.org]
    gclient sync

  • by Graywolf (61854) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:48AM (#24857533)
    Exactly. The GoogleUpdater was still running after I uninstalled. Don't be evil, my ass...
  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Informative)

    by shaka (13165) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:52AM (#24857579)

    Which EULA would that be? The one linked in the article? Oh wait, the article doesn't actually link to any EULA.

    Chrome's "EULA" may be found here [google.com]. It consists principally of this sentence:

    The Chromium software and sample code developed by Google is licensed under the BSD license.

    No, that's the terms for Chromium. You seem to have it confused between Chrome, the product, and Chromium, the open-source browser project.

    The EULA for Chrome, however, is available here [google.com].

  • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:07AM (#24857733) Journal

    You might want to look up 'semantic' in a dictionary.

    You might want to link [reference.com] a dictionary when you accuse someone of ignorance, and quote it as well.

    semantic Audio Help /smæntk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[si-man-tik] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    -adjective 1. of, pertaining to, or arising from the different meanings of words or other symbols: semantic change; semantic confusion.
    2. of or pertaining to semantics.

    Also, semantical.

    [Origin: 1655-65; Gk sémantikós having meaning, equiv. to sémant(ós) marked (séman-, base of sémaínein to show, mark + -tos verbal adj. suffix; akin to sêma sign) + -ikos -ic]

    --Related forms
    semantically, adverb

    semantic Audio Help (s-mn'tk) Pronunciation Key
    adj.
    Of or relating to meaning, especially meaning in language.
    Of, relating to, or according to the science of semantics.

    [French sémantique, from Greek smantikos, significant, from smantos, marked, from smainein, sman-, to signify, from sma, sign.]

    seman'tically adv.

    semantic

    1894, from Fr. sémantique, applied by Michel Bréal (1883) to the psychology of language, from Gk. semantikos "significant," from semainein "to show, signify, indicate by a sign," from sema "sign" (Doric sama). Semantics "the study of the relationship between linguistic symbols and their meanings" is recorded from 1893. Earlier this was called semasiology (1847, from Ger. Semasiologie, 1829).

    I believe he used the term correctly, and said exactly what he meant. There is no real difference; only wordplay.

  • by greenfield (226319) <samg+slashdot@unhinged.org> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:23AM (#24857925) Homepage

    1. BETA..Beta..BETA (although their use of "Beta" is a bit stretched I know).

    If you discuss license agreements with a lawyer, I don't think saying, "This is a beta license agreement" will carry much weight. If you agree to a contract, you are agreeing to the contract, warts and all. It's also worth noting that services like Gmail are still in "beta."

    2. Complain, email, Complain!! - Google DOES listen generally (they may not write back, but people do pay attention)

    I posted a question on Google groups a week or so ago and have now sent two email messages about the TOS. No response on the Google group; no response to the email messages. As you point out, they may be paying attention, but it's a bit hard to tell, no?

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:53AM (#24858327) Homepage

    about:plugins

    ActiveX Plug-in
    File name: activex-shim
    ActiveX Plug-in provides a shim to support ActiveX controls

  • by Sancho (17056) * on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @10:42AM (#24859005) Homepage

    I think that what really happened is that Google screwed up, copied their Google Apps license verbatim, and didn't think about the repercussions. A license like that doesn't even make sense in the context of a browser--it makes sense in the context of a service. It's a boilerplate bit of text which prevents me from successfully suing a company, say Slashdot, for publishing content I posted.

    In other words, Slashdot's lawyers would laugh at me for even trying to sue Slashdot for publishing this particular post, which is copyrighted by me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:38PM (#24860933)

    I am the AC who posted about the installation annoyances.

    Since then, I have started using the Chromium snapshot from

    http://build.chromium.org/buildbot/snapshots/ [chromium.org]

    This is much more to my liking. No installer, just a nice clean zip archive that you can uncompress anywhere. No Google updater running in the background.

    The design is very clean, although I wish it would use my system colours and visual style (msstyles). Browsing is snappy and seems to render pages well. Passes Acid2 and scores 79/100 on Acid3. No smooth scrolling and no AdBlock, but that is understandable considering it's a new browser.

    If Google were to just clean up the issues with the installer, this looks like a very promising beginning.

  • Re:404 (Score:4, Informative)

    by iocat (572367) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:57PM (#24861225) Homepage Journal
    FWIW, My company just banned using Chrome based on the EULA.
  • by enomar (601942) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @04:07PM (#24864303)
    "In order to keep things simple for our users, we try to use the same set of legal terms (our Universal Terms of Service) for many of our products. Sometimes, as in the case of Google Chrome, this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don't apply well to the use of that product. We are working quickly to remove language from Section 11 of the current Google Chrome terms of service. This change will apply retroactively to all users who have downloaded Google Chrome."

    Rebecca Ward, Senior Product Counsel for Google Chrome

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