Google Isn't Claiming Ownership of Your Google Drive Files

Attempting to quell concerns that it intends to assert ownership over the private data stored on Google Drive, Google is clarifying that language in the service's terms and conditions suggesting that policy is simply standard legal language designed to ensure their ability to deliver requested services to users. "Our terms of service enable us to give you the services you want," the company said in a statement last week, "so if you decide to share a document with someone, or open it on a different device, you can."

At issue is a passage in the terms of service, highlighted by concerned users soon after the service launched on April 24, which says using Google Drive grants the company "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." This language seems to state fairly clearly that storing your data with Google grants them permission to do whatever they want with it. This led even the New York Times to issue a warning to staffers not to use Google Drive until the terms of service were more clearly understood. 

As it turns out, the terms of service actually contains language that appears to nullify that risk. "Some of our services allow you to submit content," Google says in its disclosure. "You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours."

That's excellent news for aspiring screenwriters storing their adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. However, the bigger question is what Google may do with the information you store publicly. In essence, if you make it public, there's a chance Google might use it somehow, to promote their services, demonstrate them, or perhaps use in some other nefarious(ish) way. PC Magazine put it best when they said, regarding the terms of service, that 'Lazy people should worry.' Google probably won't be using your Stargate fan fiction any time soon, but it's probably best that you keep everything you store on Google Drive private.

  • Northwestern
    Riiiiiiight, I believe you Google, you DON'T own what I put into my account. *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge*
  • frozonic
    Google is getting too big, i am afraid they will start to get greedy :(
  • zaznet
    frozonicGoogle is getting too big, i am afraid they will start to get greedy
    I totally agree but the alternatives have already been too greedy. When Google starts to put out products that only work with Chrome I'll start searching for another all-in-one solution for my Internet-connected life. Hopefully one that will import everything from Google in a click.
  • rocknrollz
    frozonicGoogle is getting too big, i am afraid they will start to get greedy
    Start to get big? They have been big. ATM, they have shares at over 600 each. I do not see your evidence that Google is o the brink of becoming "greedy".
  • koga73
    lol you may still own the rights to the content but it doesn't mean google isn't going to "peek" at it
  • IAmVortigaunt
    koga73lol you may still own the rights to the content but it doesn't mean google isn't going to "peek" at it
    Yeah I was reading, for example, that they supposedly use your uploaded pictures to aid Google Goggles...which seems to fall under the 'improve our services' clause. I wonder if serving you more 'relevant' ads is also considered to improve their 'services'.
  • chechak
    selling important information is ethical behave ...
    is that what google is doing opposite to it's service ?
    what do you think it's another way to collect personal information !
  • tntom
    I just don't want to be used to promote something I do not endorse. My name, image, convictions and character are valuable to me. I do not participate in sweepstakes for computer systems and gaming gear because they reserve the right to use your name or image to promote products that you may not agree with.

    I also avoid using ad engines on my website as I have little control of what they display. I would not want to promote questionable things that friends, children and family could be victimized by e.g. "work at home" "meds and enhancements" "meet girls".
  • I use their Picasa photo-organizing software on my local machine --- but I will NOT use their online Picasa Web Albums service. Why? Because their terms of service directly state that by uploading photos, you are granting them a permanent right to use them -- even those you otherwise keep private -- in any way they see fit, such as to promote their own services. Even if you later cancel your account, they can keep and use your photos essentially forever.

    No, thank you, I do not want to see my relatives' faces -- especially those who have since passed away -- in an ad for Google+ or whatever else they happen to be pushing at the time.
  • This same issue was raised when DropBox updated the term of service of his product, everybody cryed foul and nothing ever happened, it's the same in this case. If you are realy too concerned of the privacy policies of ANY company, don't use the product, period!

    Google like any other copany NEEDS to make money so you are free to find another service with the policy that most suits you and pay them what they ask.