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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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  • 404 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by m0ve ( 1280392 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:06AM (#24856249)
    funny thing : i can read this with FF but get 404 using chrome
  • 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.

  • 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?
  • Re:So far so good. (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:49AM (#24856443)

    I have loaded Chrome this morning and the first thing I notice is the crappy character display. The text looks out of focus and washed out - just like Firefox does. But I also notice how quickly it displays a page compared to IE.

    But, until they can sort out the on-screen text, I will stick with Internet Explorer.

    Geneva - Switzerland

  • Re:A turn off? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bignetbuy ( 1105123 ) <dirrtygsharp.outlook@com> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:01AM (#24856519) Journal

    It is sloppy. GoogleUpdate is called as a scheduled task on MS platforms. It claims that if Chrome is uninstalled, the scheduledtask will remove itself in "a few hours".

    Still, not using Add/Remove programs like other well-behaved apps is just shady.

  • by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:13AM (#24856587)
    Chrome is _going_ to be open source ? Whatever happened to "release early, release often" ideology ? I mean, if they decided that its going to be open source from the outset, why wouldnt they be doing the development in the open as well ?
  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @06:51AM (#24856751)

    The US is a strange place. People here want freedom from the goverment and have this idea in the back of their heads of some sort of Matrix style world springing up anyday.

    I remember when I moved here from Russia 5 years ago and mortage, loan, cell-phone, health insurance etc. In many ways I felt far less "free" than when living under communism (if I didn't pay $x every month I would be locked up and left to rot!).

    We pride ourselves on "freedom" form the goverment but our Corporation's on the other hand impose some of the most oppressive rules on customers than anywhere in the world.

    Very few places in the world can a company sue you just for quiting your job. Very few places in the world can companies dictate exactly how you can live your life or else you don't receive basic healthcare. It's a strange, strange place.

  • 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: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.

  • Re:Guck Foogle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ILuvSP ( 625676 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:39AM (#24857015)

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

    To elaborate...Google is an advertising and marketing company!! Everything they do, is directed towards knowing the consumer. This EULA is genius...and so is this product (the browser). What better way is there of harvesting consumer information? Create a browser, say you have royalty-free license to everything that goes through said browser. This is a like striking gold for an advertising company. It is essentially spyware, only made by Google so it's good...right?

  • by brianez21 ( 945805 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @07:55AM (#24857091) Journal

    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.

    There's build instructions for Mac OS X [] and Linux []. Of course, the browser doesn't actually run on *nix yet, but you can't say they're not trying.

  • by mike_diack ( 254876 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:05AM (#24857153)

    I was underwhelmed myself...

    They've done a BAD job of the installer:

    1) It doesn't let you choose where to install the app.
    2) It doesn't install it under \Program Files - believe it or not it installs the binaries in the profile directory of the user who did the installation!

    Item 2) of course means that for Windows users (like me) who have multiple Windows accounts are absolutely stuck - they can't run the browser except when logged on as that same user who did the installation. For me, because I run as a limited user but login as admin to install software, that means that the limited user account can't access the chrome files, which are stored in the admin profile directory!

    Really stupid design mistakes - I've already reported them to Google - I hope they fix it pronto. With that kind of a bug it shouldn't have even made it to beta.
    Not only that but when you uninstall it - it _doesn't_ uninstall the google updater that it added during the installation process.

    Not impressed.


  • by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:18AM (#24857245)
    IANAL, but I do live in the real world, and this doesn't mean what people are claiming it does because there's no way for it to be enforced.
    1. In order for google to even have any idea, let alone prove, what it has this royalty free license to, everything chrome displays would have to be either proxied through google, or have a copy sent to google. This would be prohibitive in the sense that even Google doesn't have that kind of bandwidth and server space to dedicate to something with no revenue stream, and because someone would have seen it happening by now.
    2. I'd be willing to bet it's can't be enforced. EULA's are pretty questionable legally as it is, and even if this sort of thing was in a written contract signed in blood, the courts would probably toss it out as being unreasonable. Most of the stuff which gets rendered in a browser the person using the browser doesn't even have the right to grant license to in the first place, and no judge is going to find that displaying something in a browser is a reasonable cause for this result
    3. Google are neither stupid nor suicidal. Actually trying to enforce something like this would be disastrous for their ad revenue and despite all their clever ideas Google does't have any other revenue.
    4. I could be wrong, google could be trying for the most audacious evil in known history, but I sort of doubt it. Even when applied to Google's services all it is is an attempt to cover their asses legally. In order to have a file on flickr google has to be able to show it to people(because that's what flickr does) and so google has to have a license to do so.

  • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:21AM (#24857279)

    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.

  • by amake ( 673443 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:22AM (#24857289) Homepage
    I want "subtract spam"!
  • by Galileo_M2 ( 778383 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:27AM (#24857341)
    Read point 1.2 of the EULA and you will see that 95% of the EULA does NOT apply to Chrome. 1.2 Unless otherwise agreed in writing with Google, your agreement with Google will always include, at a minimum, the terms and conditions set out in this document. These are referred to below as the âoeUniversal Termsâ. Open source software licenses for Google Chrome source code constitute separate written agreements. To the limited extent that the open source software licenses expressly supersede these Universal Terms, the open source licenses govern your agreement with Google for the use of Google Chrome or specific included components of Google Chrome.
  • Re:So far so good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @08:43AM (#24857471)

    though to be fair, Adblock is best used if the ads are downloaded but not displayed - that way the site gets the revenue, and you automatically get to ignore the ads.

  • All I know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ericspinder ( 146776 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:16AM (#24857853) Journal
    I installed it last night at home, all I noticed was that it was fast. I didn't play with it for too long but page rendering was quick, and crisp. Based on your observations they might have a hard time creating a Linux port, but the windows version seems to work well (so far).
  • by Nephroth ( 586753 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @09:56AM (#24858373)
    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 mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @10:40AM (#24858971) Journal

    What part of the definition of "web browser" makes you think it's defined to be a "service"? Do you think the terms might be there to cover the cases when Chrome is used to post to Google's actual services, using the integration into Google Search, their anti-phishing list, the geolocation services, GMail, and other services that are integrated with Chrome through the inclusion of Gears?

  • by teh kurisu ( 701097 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @10:55AM (#24859237) Homepage

    Google describe Chrome as 'multi-platform []'. They also say that they're tailoring each version to the platform it runs on, so that it doesn't have the 'rough edges' that (for example) Firefox and Safari have.

    Chromium's overall design has been multi-platform from the start, but we are also committed to getting the details right for users on each platform.

  • Re:So far so good. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:19PM (#24860641)

    though to be fair, Adblock is best used if the ads are downloaded but not displayed - that way the site gets the revenue, and you automatically get to ignore the ads.

    a) I am on dial-up half the time. Downloading the ads is most of the problem. More so, ad content may exceed actual content by a factor of 100:1 (consider that without blocks in place, plug-ins would preced the flash ad itself).

    b) If it doesn't slow you down or your coworkers over a shared LAN, then it may increase bandwidth costs or cause a cap to be hit

    c) Website operators that push the wrong type of ad should not be rewarded. Should operator A be rewarded ten times more than operator B just because they put ten times as many ads on their site? Small sites with some text ads or sponsors are typically OK and won't be automatically blocked. Get in bed with Doubleclick (or Google now that they are the same), then fuck 'em.

    d) What you suggest is click fraud - more or less - and is definitely inteded to defraud the advertisers. Sure, I think marketers should rot in hell. That does not mean I want to be the one picking their pockets.

    e> That you preface your comments with "to be fair" suggests you have not given the matter much thought.

  • Re:So far so good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kalriath ( 849904 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @10:12PM (#24868497)

    No site that actually cares about your one page view because they need it, will ever get paid until you click the ad. You're not helping them.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato