Android News

Google Drive TOS got you spooked? Don’t be, it’s standard for all Google services

April 25, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka



After yesterday’s Google Drive announcement, I tweeted that I would wait before deciding to make the permanent switch from Dropbox to Drive. However, a few Twitter followers were uneasy about the Terms of Service expressed by Google Drive and said they would avoid using it as a result.

Here is the offending paragraph that has people hesitant to upload their data to Drive, as noted by Brad McCarty at The Next Web:

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

The terminology paints a picture that might make someone fear that the sensitive documents and photos they upload to Drive may wind up in some Google advertisement or distributed elsewhere without consent. Nevermind that doing so would make no sense and accomplish nothing for Google; the wording makes an impression that Google could do those things, which is enough to make some people stay away from Drive.

I don’t feel comfortable telling people how they should feel, but this is not as scary as some people are making it out to be. For starters, read the statements right above the paragraph that sparked these concerns:

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

Google isn’t saying that it owns your content, it’s saying that you give them the right to alter it for a number of necessary reasons: generate thumbnails of your photos, translate documents to another language at the user’s request, relocate or back it up in storage, or send to another service when you try to share. Google’s policy is about covering its own ass legally, not trying to steal ownership of the photo you posted of your lunch or the guest list for a business luncheon.

Still scared? Well, that’s your right. However, keep in mind that this is not a Google Drive policy – it’s a Google policy. Google adopted a uniform privacy policy that applies to its services. Rather than maintain a different set of terms for each product, Gmail, Google+, YouTube, search, and more were put under the same umbrella. That’s why the Drive terms sound so aggressive, and why Google “stealing” your content shouldn’t rank too high on your fears list. As far as I know, Google has yet to steal any image from the many photographers on Google+, video creators on YouTube, or any of the billions of emails sent through Gmail. If you trust the company with those services, you may as well trust Google Drive.