SkyDrive and Google Drive Terms of Service, Something To Consider - gHacks Tech News

SkyDrive and Google Drive Terms of Service, Something To Consider

A message on Twitter pointed out some differences between the terms of service of Microsoft's SkyDrive, and Google's Google Drive cloud hosting service. When you look at Google's Terms of Service that many of the company's services share, you will notice that you are giving Google "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" when you upload files to Google Drive.

We have seen similar broad terms of services from other services such as Amazon's Cloud Drive.

Google notes however in the terms of service that the license is used by the company "for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones".

Microsoft's Terms of Service for Windows Live products show that terms of service do not have to go that far. The company states:

Except for material that we license to you, we don't claim ownership of the content you provide on the service. Your content remains your content. We also don't control, verify, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the service.

If you read on, you find a paragraph that looks on first glance very similar to Google's TOS.

You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service.

Microsoft needs the rights "solely to the extent necessary to provide the service" while Google wants to use the license for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving [their] Services, and to develop new ones".

Both Microsoft and Google are large corporations that want to generate revenue from their services. It pays therefor to look at the terms of services of cloud hosting providers before you start uploading your files to the cloud.

In the end, it is up to the individual user or business to protect their files and privacy. One viable option in this regard is the encryption of files before they are uploaded to third party online storage services. While you may lose some functionality - like editing documents - you make sure that companies can't access a file's contents.

Are you concerned about those terms of service?

Update:  A Google spokesperson made the following statement: “As our Terms of Service make clear, ‘what belongs to you stays yours.’ You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple. Our Terms of Service enable us to give you the services you want — so if you decide to share a document with someone, or open it on a different device, you can.” This refers to the following sentence in Google's TOS:

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.

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Comments

  1. Uhtred said on April 25, 2012 at 2:23 am
    Reply

    1. Googles use of data “for the limited purpose…” doesn’t seem to be Time limited, as once you’ve cancelled they can still use your stuff…. “This license continues even if you stop using our Services” … If microsoft do same then they’ve hidden the phrase a bit better as I couldnt see it. Bit unfair that, you should be able to have some rights to your own data.

    2. (Potentially) Full control over everything seems a bit rich. They should give each account a safety deposit box option where that data won’t be used for promo their service etc (but can still, if legal/court warrant requires, be opened). If the box is a small percentage of account size, e.g. 10 or 20 per cent,, that at least would make service more personal, and more encouraging to people to use.

  2. JohnMWhite said on April 25, 2012 at 2:27 am
    Reply

    Google’s terms definitely seem over the top – it is effectively a license to use your content as they see fit. Granted it is unlikely the corporation is going to plunder your text files to find a short story you wrote and then turn it into a billion-dollar movie franchise, but in essence they would have a license to do so if they felt like it. I have to admit to serious suspicion: why do they need license to publicly perform the contents of my files? That is just not a reasonable demand.

  3. KoalaBear said on April 25, 2012 at 6:23 am
    Reply

    I dont understand what this post wants to make clear.

    All is needed for you to download and use the files you store on cloud services. Also to make backups the need the right to duplicate your content.

    use = general
    host = you need to host it in order to be able to use it at a cloud service
    store = like host
    reproduce = backups
    modify = else you cannot edit a document etc.
    create derivative works = dont know
    communicate = like host
    publish = little like host
    publicly perform = dont understand this words properly
    publicly display = when you make your file available public
    distribute such content = like host

    So everything is logaical and needed to deliver the server. Else you can accuse them for your own actions.

    Also:
    ” You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”

    Google Terms of Service – Policies & Principles
    http://www.google.com/policies/terms/

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 25, 2012 at 10:08 am
      Reply

      This post wants to raise awareness.

    2. Rhoedd said on April 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm
      Reply

      “create derivatives” I understand as converting your images via OCR into text or your Word document into Google docs or any of the many other types of conversions that is done via their service.

  4. Todd Schnitt said on April 25, 2012 at 7:52 am
    Reply

    Never understood why anybody who cared one iota about their privacy would use the cloud. They (finally) admit that they will do whatever they want with your personal info/documents and people will still be lining up like sheep to the slaughter to give it to them. Cloud, Facebook, Twitter…I can’t wait until the mass hysteria is over.

  5. Shin said on April 25, 2012 at 8:55 am
    Reply

    Microsoft is just a tad smarter than Google,
    they don’t claim ownership thus making sure they are not liable in case you uploaded a ‘bad’ file.

    Still, if your concerned about privacy, do not use cloud based storage.
    What you send, from where, who looks at the content, …

    Cloud is easy but nothing is for free

  6. kalmly said on April 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm
    Reply

    I can only think of one reason to store anything in the cloud. It isn’t a very good reason, so I won’t even mention it.

    Like you say: “In the end, it is up to the individual user or business to protect their files and privacy.” Yes. And the way to do that is to store it on your own drives.

    No. I am not concerned about “those” terms because I do not use the cloud. That way I don’t have to be concerned about the site being down, or losing my stuff, or my files, pics, or whatever being passed around to anyone and everyone, or the company shutting down its services (gee, notice any of that going on lately?), or beginning to charge me a “small” monthly fee, that grows over time.

  7. Michael Hazell said on December 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm
    Reply

    I like this post and how it raises awareness. I however still trust Microsoft more than Google with my data. Besides, I like SkyDrive better for other reasons, such as hosting images.

  8. Anonymous said on July 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm
    Reply

    April 25, 2012
    Google’s terms definitely seem over the top – it is effectively a license to use your content as they see fit. Granted it is unlikely the corporation is going to plunder your text files to find a short story you wrote and then turn it into a billion-dollar movie franchise, but in essence they would have a license to do so if they felt like it. I have to admit to serious suspicion: why do they need license to publicly perform the contents of my files? That is just not a reasonable demand.

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