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Reading Google Chrome's Fine Print 607

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 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> 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: []

    See point 11.1.

    • 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 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 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Nephroth ( 586753 )
          Only to content you post to Google services, which means that they don't own any rights to this post, for instance, but they retain rights to reproduce, display, and reuse any content that I upload to YouTube, or any other Google site. Hate to say it, but this is a condition of basically any Web2.0 service, and a source of my dislike for the cloud.
      • 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: []

        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.

        • by Kagura ( 843695 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:00AM (#24856789)
          Google Earth and potentially other programs install the Google Updater, too. I've come to expect this from other applications, but it takes me totally by surprise from Google, and I'm not just being petty. That said, I don't interfere with the Google Updater, because overall I want all my Google applications kept easily up to date. There are enough of them (Google Earth/Desktop/Chrome) that it is nicer to have an autoupdater keeping track.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            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 wo

        • 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 [] is your friend.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        but as you can compile from source using the licesne for gain is moot, meaning that the license is just there to cover their asses as the browser may not render pages perfectly and this may get them sued in sue happy America.

        P.s this and all slashdot posts are held under a vitually identical EULA.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Swizec ( 978239 )
          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 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 hdparm ( 575302 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:46AM (#24856425) Homepage

        It's really strange stuff. Someone might think that even transfers/deposits one makes while accessing own bank account also belong to Google. Or stuff someone buys on Ebay. Once on-line voting and Chrome become prevalent, Google will also become The President.

    • 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.

  • 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?
    • 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 [].

      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.

  • 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.



    • 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: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.

  • A turn off? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hachiman ( 68983 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:16AM (#24856293)

    Whilst the auto update feature sort of makes sense (if you discount a malicious user working out how to auto-update an installed copy with their own code), I detest ads, possibly in common with the rest of the world. Ok, it is their revenue, but it's bad enough seeing them on pages, but having them eve more targetted???

    Oh yes, and the autoupdate program (googleupdate.exe) still executes at startup even after Chrome is uninstalled. I know it's a beta, but that's just sloppy.

    Or is it???

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:17AM (#24856299)

    12. Software updates 12.1 The Software that you use may automatically download and install updates from time to time from Google. These updates are designed to improve, enhance and further develop the Services and may take the form of bug fixes, enhanced functions, new software modules and completely new versions. You agree to receive such updates (and permit Google to deliver these to you) as part of your use of the Services.

    Burying an agreement to have spyware installed on your machine deep within obscure legalese is not something I'd have expected of Google, and there seems to be no way to disable the associated googleupdate.exe process without registry hacking.

  • by jackb_guppy ( 204733 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:17AM (#24856303)

    Google lawyers may need to learn a new word that ATT was just taught... Unconscionable

  • 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.
    • 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..
    • Re:So far so good. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Smivs ( 1197859 ) <> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:13AM (#24856871) Homepage Journal

      I used Firefox for years and still do to an extent, but a couple of years ago I 'saw the light' and moved to Opera [] as my default browser. It does everything I need it to, quickly and securely, it takes up much less screen real-estate, and is very customisable. It's occassionaly caught out by sites 'optimised' for I.E. (but what isn't?) but otherwise is brilliant.

  • LGPL? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:30AM (#24856357)
    Chrome uses WebKit, which is based on the LGPL'ed software KHTML. Shouldn't this make it harder to put weird restrictions on usage?
  • 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:

  • 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).
  • by hyperz69 ( 1226464 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:12AM (#24856581)
    This is totally awesome and fair! This is the best thing to happen on the internet! GOOGLE IS THE BEST COMPANY EVER!

    "Posted with Chrome, edited for content by Google"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:40AM (#24856705)

    2.3 You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google, ...

    Apparently kids are not allowed to use chrome.

  • by Peet42 ( 904274 ) <Peet42@N[ ] ['ets' in gap]> 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 @07:01AM (#24856797)

    In Soviet America, Google Chrome surfs you!

  • by greenfield ( 226319 ) <> 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 [] 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 [] 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 the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:53AM (#24858327) Homepage


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

  • 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

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972