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Google Privacy

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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  • Misread much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onlysolution (941392) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:09AM (#24856267)
    It looks to me like the out-of-context excerpts here all pertain to your use of Google's services with Chrome. All of these services state that you agree to let Google use the data you generate so I perhaps these clauses are present in Chrome's EULA to cover your use of their apps in Gears?
  • by Swizec (978239) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:14AM (#24856283) Homepage
    There's a difference between having an EULA for google services and an EULA for google browser and they should be different. I can understand anything I upload to google being google's property henceforth, but anything I upload using their browser? Basically ... if I use their browser anything I do online becomes their property ... how is that good for me or anyone?

    This is yet another sign of google's impending world domination. Won't be long before they own everything people use from software, to clothes, to spouses and children.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:19AM (#24856319)

    Coming from a company that had till recently no publicly available privacy policy, I would say consumer-friendlyness is not at the of the agenda.

    This said, if they are to compete with the likes of Microsoft, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

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

    by BBFire (825138) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:44AM (#24856413)
    Yes! All looking good / working fine here too. Simple no future for me though without AdBlock (or some equivalent).. thought I'd seen the last of those damn smileys forever. "Do no evil".. cmon, it's tantamount to torture nowadays to leave a user unsure if the next tab is going to greet them with a nauseating flash anim or that buzzing noise..
  • by minginqunt (225413) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:45AM (#24856419) Homepage Journal

    The frequency of badsummary on this site makes me sad.

    I bet the editors of this site never intended the tag system to be used primarily as a mechanism for drawing attention to their own incompetence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:48AM (#24856433)

    Imagine an even more far fetched scenario - your company uses some kind of web mail. One could abstract that Google have some claim over any emails and attachments you send/receive through Chrome.

    Clearly this is not what Google intend and they have pasted their generic EULA into place until such times as they can afford to pay for a legal representative to write a shiny new one.

  • by rugatero (1292060) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:49AM (#24856437)

    Basically ... if I use their browser anything I do online becomes their property ... how is that good for me or anyone?

    Actually the terms say that you grant a royalty-free licence, not ownership. It's still an unacceptable condition, but I feel the distinction is important.

  • Guck Foogle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by asackett (161377) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:57AM (#24856489) Homepage

    Google is a commercial enterprise... 'nuff sed.

  • Boilerplate TOS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by speakerbomb (1319693) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:58AM (#24856495) Homepage
    How is Google going to "reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute the content you submit, post or display on Chrome"? It sounds boilerplate to me (which is kind of surprising, since you'd think Google would have a crack legal team banging one out before Chrome's release).
  • dominiation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hbshbs (1356539) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:00AM (#24856517)
    saying that every information we upload using this software may be used by google means they have to log this data somewhere. and they do ask if you want to send information about the use of the browser but you can refuse. i do believe that they wouldn't collect information using the browser itself since it's a complicated task that will consume alot of web traffic and space. as already said they have much better ways doing so with their other web applications, all the chrome idea is to make ppl trust the web applications better, and make it easier to use hence more ppl use the google web apps ---> more info on google servers ---> more info google can use to do what the hell they want with... p/s/ it is a demonic eula... worst than a mortgage one.
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Candid88 (1292486) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:11AM (#24856575)

    And if you think google are just using the information "to allow you to customise things and target ads towards you" then you're having a laugh.

    At least government is bound by freedom-of-information acts, elections etc. so we can actually find out about things like RFID tags. There's absolutely no way to tell what Google are up to with the data.

  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by swordgeek (112599) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:19AM (#24856615) Journal

    Hmm. Which government is this, bound to follow their own laws? The police state is spreading through the western world, and I'm not seeing many governments willing to be constrained anymore.

  • by centuren (106470) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:25AM (#24856649) Homepage Journal

    I routinely admonish coworkers (above and below me) for sending email through a 3rd party webmail provider (usually them sending something to my gmail address rather than work address, for some unknown reason). When I'm working remotely and the normal server goes down, I'll use Google's SMTP server if it's the best working option, but it goes through encrypted.

  • by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:34AM (#24856685) Journal

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

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

  • Re:Use Chromium (Score:5, Insightful)

    by centuren (106470) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:34AM (#24856687) Homepage Journal

    Quite right.

    Any specific critiques of interface of licensing seem to be moot in the long run, since the stated goal of this browser is to release better tools for ALL the browsers, including ones that are fully open source.

    There's not much point in arguing how much Google might monitor or claim usage-rights over, as the obvious goal is a backbone for all browsers that makes their applications run better and gives them more potential to develop new ones. Competing with IE and FF doesn't exactly fit well in their business plan.

    The real questions are, if V8 actually does blow all current JS engines away, how soon are we going to see it in a Firefox release? If the independent handling of tabs prove to be the sensible way to handle it, will it make it into FF4?

    If the things Google is introducing are better, V8 should get in there quickly, but multiprocess handling of tabs and plugins, etc, will require quite a bit of work to get into existing browsers.

  • Re:guff? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:59AM (#24856785)

    So... you're making fun of him based on your own ignorance [reference.com]?

  • by MacroRex (548024) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:03AM (#24856813)

    The privacy policy is not relevant, the EULA is.

    I work for a small codeshop that does (among other things) document management applications. Our apps have a browser-based UI, and if I'm reading the EULA right, any information (including documents etc.) used with our apps are automatically licensed to Google if the user uses Chrome.

    IANAL and I hope I'm wrong, because otherwise I can't see how Chrome could be used with business applications at all.

    There's a difference Chrome automatically installs a GoogleUpdate executable and adds it to your autoruns; I really hate it when applications do that.

    StartupMonitor [mlin.net] is your friend.

  • by YojimboJango (978350) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:23AM (#24856921)
    Really? This is in every EULA. Who cares.
  • by foobsr (693224) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:24AM (#24856927) Homepage Journal
    google was supposed to the company that was "different"

    Google was marketed as the company that was "different". Fixed that for you.

    It is impossible for a 'good' company to exist/survive in a market that is ruled by (capitalist) laws of competition and profit.

    CC.
  • Re:A turn off? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by antirelic (1030688) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:26AM (#24856939) Journal

    I do not so much mind "targeted adds" as much as I mind "add spam". I would love to know about new electronics, new games, new guns, and who the hottest new chick is, but what I dont care about is: making $10000 a month with a home based business, mortgage rates dropping, dancing women on roof tops, or premium life insurance for the elderly. Yes, adds are intrusive, but they provide incentive for people to put up interesting web sites that I like to frequent, without having to charge me a subscription fee (not sure of any other money making model that has succeeded for web sites).

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:39AM (#24857017) Journal

    Yup. Call it "beta", and you can get away with anything. Especially after their cool comic book bragged about their advanced testing techniques that put everyone else to shame.

  • by gi.net (987908) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:44AM (#24857043)
    The parent is right. Here is the complete sentence (notice that the first phrase has been omitted by the poster):

    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 licence 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 licence 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.

    What I understand is that you must allow google to let them publish and modify the documents you put on their servers. For me it's to be able to backup the data, change the files formats, etc...

  • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:47AM (#24857051) Homepage Journal

    In the modern day that is, sadly, merely a semantic difference. If someone has a royalty-free licence to do anything with something they might as well own it and it woudln't make any difference to them or the author.

    You might want to look up 'semantic' in a dictionary. It means the opposite of what you think it means.

  • Re:guff? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by canUbeleiveIT (787307) * on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:52AM (#24857077)
    It was a light-hearted joke...relax.
  • by TheJasper (1031512) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:55AM (#24857089)
    Very nice article but it doesn't do anything to fix the problem of what they might do in the future. Since the EULA reserves the right to install basically any functionality they want there is nothing preventing future abuse. Certainly it is a matter of trust. A blog like that increases my paranoia because it reads like a paid advertisement.

    btw I am not anti-google. I use google to search for everyything, my primary email is gmail.
    I also dont think Google or any company can actually do all the crazy things people can imagine when taking a EULA to extremes. EULAS aren't even worth the paper they're written on.
  • by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:55AM (#24857097) Homepage

    They didn't steal anything. You give them permission when you accept the license agreement and you upload something. If you don't want them to "steal" whatever, don't use their software and/or don't upload anything.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:13AM (#24857205)

    After playing with it a bit, I'd say it is far more stable than either Safari Beta or Mozilla Beta was. I think it even beats out IE 7 Beta (I didn't play with 8). It has fewer features, though.

    Still, pretty impressive for a first release.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:20AM (#24857273)

    It probably doesn't count as "stealing" (especially since you can't "steal" IP, remember?), but it is certainly unconscionable and I'm confident would be ruled so by courts. It's just like those credit card agreements that say you lose all rights by agreeing to use this card. Oh, and this agreement can be changed at any time, customer to be notified by an ad in the Sacramento Penny Saver.

  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:33AM (#24857395)

    are we talking about slashdot

    With respect to text or data entered into and stored by publicly-accessible site features such as forums, comments and bug trackers ("SourceForge Public Content"), the submitting user retains ownership of such SourceForge Public Content; with respect to publicly-available statistical content which is generated by the site to monitor and display content activity, such content is owned by SourceForge. In each such case, the submitting user grants SourceForge the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license.

    or google:

    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.

  • by mrtvfuencxozd (828244) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:42AM (#24857467)
    hey this is how my boss thinks things work...
  • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:51AM (#24857559) Journal

    Damn them for not making their codebase absolutely perfect from day one! Software should spring into life fully formed, like Athena from Zeus' forehead!

    Actually it should. It's not in vogue right at the moment but it's called testing BEFORE release. Do you really think for more critical stuff that the developers can afford to release untested crap and say "oh well it's beta"? Think of mission critical stuff - aircraft and spacecraft, power industry, telecommunications. Okay a web browser doesn't deserve quite the same level of scrutiny, but obvious bugs should be eliminated on day one. It USe to be common practice to at least try to do so, and failing to do so use to be an embarrassment. Now it's just business as usual. (By the way Google would have a lot more credibility using the term if their "beta" software didn't stay in beta for years)

  • by greenfield (226319) <samg+slashdot@unhinged.org> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:19AM (#24857893) Homepage
    [Note: I am not a lawyer.]

    As other posters have pointed out, the Chrome privacy policy [google.com] seems to make section 11 moot as it implies that Google will not collect information other than what is required to actually run the browser. So while they assert a royalty-free perpetual license to some content, Google states that they are not capturing the content.

    Several other web-based services have a similar license agreement. Generally, the reason why Google's standard Terms of Service requires a royalty-free license is so they can syndicate and publish content you decide to distribute using Google's services. This doesn't necessarily seem applicable to using a web browser. However, even if the content in Section 11 should be included, there are a couple of extra phrases that Google has that other companies do not include. And they make a real difference with other services like Picasa Web Albums.

    One extra phrase that Google includes in their Terms of Service is "promote." Other companies, like Yahoo and Apple, do not have this clause. To me, this implies that Google can use your content in advertisements for free. Another clause gives Google the right to share your content with business partners for the provision of syndicated services. Again, this could be for promotional reasons; you might end us having your content used in advertisements for Google's business partners, especially as the reasons for sharing the content are not well defined in the Terms of Service.

    I wrote a comparison of the Google Picasa Web Terms of Service [samgreenfield.com] against similar companies. No other company seems to grab the promotional rights to your material in the same manner that Google does.

    Google can fix this problem for Chrome. Other services, like YouTube and Blogger, have much more specific terms of service that ameliorate the problems of Section 11 of the Google TOS. However, the better solution for Google is to fix their TOS in the first place to only grab the rights required to run their products.

  • by Jason1729 (561790) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:22AM (#24857919)
    Actually, from the very bottom of every slashdot page "All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-2008 SourceForge, Inc"

    You absolutely do not own posts to your blog (at least under US and Canadian copyright laws).

    By what you said, when you upload to a paid host, you are adding content to THEIR webserver, the fact that you pay them has no impact on this. Google is ad-supported, so when you upload content to their website, you are paying them by viewing ads and proving content so that others will view ads. Of course payment simply doesn't matter.

    If I take your arguement, the local radio talk show beams content that they own into my home without my consent. Can I simply claim that since they put their content in my house, I now own it?
  • by juhaz (110830) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:30AM (#24858009) Homepage

    It's perfectly acceptable for a web service - they all have similar clauses - and granting them some rights is even necessary, my post is intended to be public, and they do need to permission to show it to others.

    It's certainly not acceptable for a browser to do with private data.

    Do you really fail to see the difference, or are you just building strawmen for fun?

  • by MacroRex (548024) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:34AM (#24858067)

    I don't think Chrome sends the stuff anywhere (see here [mattcutts.com]), but anyway, this is a theoretical legal problem translating into practice so that no company lawyer will permit any handling of company data with Chrome. This would mean that Chrome will be outright banned.

    The implications of the EULA sound nonsensical, and I sincerely hope that someone will soon demonstrate how I'm wrong about this.

  • by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:45AM (#24858213)

    but it takes me totally by surprise from Google

    Why? I've been predicting for years the Google love will eventually start turning into hatred. We are talking about a publicly traded corporate entity with much of it's base in capitalist Amerikka here.

    If Microsoft, or anyone else, released an application with a updater process that remained after uninstalling, there would be so much howling on here the thread would simply implode.

    But it's Google, so people are trying to defend it by saying it's beta, but leaving out a single line in the uninstall script would have removed the updater executable, so it seems suspect to me. More like someone, somewhere said, "No, we don't want that file removed, take that line out" after Dev initially used common sense and would be unlikely to forget something like this.

    More howling, imo, needs to happen in regards to them releasing this with a lot of Windows specific code. The way I understand things, you try to keep your source as posix as possible from the start and not write a Windows application for beta, then slowly rework your code to something more Linux friendly. I could be wrong.

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:50AM (#24858279) Journal

    That's slightly different. Slashdot is a public forum, and it's reasonable to expect that comments could be used by /. to promote the site. Since it says the comments are owned by the posters, they should also have to properly attribute any comments they use (I'd expect; but then, IANAL).

    Chrome, OTOH, might be used to post a private post to a blog — which nobody can read unless they're on a list of "allowed" people — and Google's terms of use say they claim rights to use that.

  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcvos (645701) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @10:26AM (#24858737)

    TVery few places in the world can a company sue you just for quiting your job.

    It's still an improvement compared to the time when slaves who quit their job were hunted down with dogs.

    (Yes, I'm aware this joke is going to cost me karma.)

  • by haystor (102186) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @10:45AM (#24859049)

    There are those of us who consider something like Chrome to have value before it is perfect. If it is possible to have a year early in a buggy state, I'd like to check it out and use it in my plans.

    If you don't like it try this: don't use it.

  • by TuringTest (533084) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @11:05AM (#24859419) Journal

    "release early, release often" is not an idea-logy, it's a method-logy.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:41PM (#24860991)

    Ordinarily I'd agree completely. But this is Google we're talking about, where "beta" has almost ceased to have meaning. By their typical schedule, Chrome will be out of beta circa 2017.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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