Photo: ehud via Flickr
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence 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.
Google updated its terms of service on March 1 to cover all its products, which now includes Google Drive. Before, there was a separate policy for Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, etc.
However, we wouldn’t freak out. As Brad McCarty of The Next Web points out, Google Drive isn’t the type of service where work is displayed. It’s just a storage locker:
…we have to first look at what Google Drive is — a file locker, with a heavy focus on documents. Now what does it allow you to do? It lets you take your files with you, and access them anywhere that you have an Internet connection. Unless you specifically grant Google the right to host, store, use and reproduce those documents, it wouldn’t be able to do that.
That sounds reasonable, but doesn’t change the exact language of Google’s blanket terms of service for all its products. Dropbox, which is very similar to Google Drive, explicitly says in its terms of service that it does not own the files you upload:
By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services…
We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update as soon as we hear back.
UPDATE: A Google spokesperson pointed us to a few passages that should help clear things up. To put it in context, Google’s policy is very similar to Dropbox’s. .
Here’s the key passages from Google’s terms of service you should know:
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.
So Google only needs to access your files in order to deliver them to your Google Drive account on the web, phone, tablet, etc. It’s very limited.
Google’s policy isn’t as easy to understand as Dropbox’s, but it pretty much says the same thing.
Don’t Miss: Our complete walkthrough of Google Drive.