Google came out with its online storage service this week, and techies are already sounding warning bells about its terms of service. In comparison, Dropbox and Microsoft's SkyDrive are very clear about who owns what.
From the Dropbox terms of service: "Your Stuff & Your Privacy: 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, as explained below."
From the SkyDrive terms of service: "5. Your Content: 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."
Although Google's Drive misleadingly starts its terms of service with the statement that "what belongs to you stays yours" . . . that's not exactly true. It goes on to say the following: "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 that we make so that your content works better with
our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display
and distribute such content.
So much for "doing no harm" . . . And not only does Google feel free to abuse it users, it can't resist kicking them in the ass as they walk out the door: "This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for
example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps)." Think very carefully before you upload any files whatsoever to Google Drive . . .