As You Freak Out About the Google Drive Terms of Service, Please Read This

Google Drive: All Your Content Might Belong to UsA fair amount of loud people are up in arms over alleged badness in the Google Drive terms of service. I’ve been one to criticize user-unfriendly TOS in the past, and I took a quick look at things. Articles such as this one on CNet are fueling the ZOMG Google owns all my stuff fires.

My interpretation1 of the terms is that they’re on par with most services that host content – Google doesn’t claim ownership of user-shared content, but does grant itself a rather broad license to manipulate and use that content in any way that it sees fit in connection with the service. This is comparable (and similar language) to many other online services.

For reference, here are the current Google terms of service.

Note that I didn’t say the Google Drive terms of service. There’s one terms of service agreement for all Google services. I’m not going to tell you how to interpret their terms, but if you interpret them to mean that Google owns all of your Google Drive content, you also acknowledge:

  • Google owns all of your YouTube videos
  • Google can do anything it wants with your Picasa photos
  • Google is free to use all of your Gmail messages for any purpose
  • Your Blogger content belongs to Google
  • Everything else you create on any Google property falls under these same conditions

If that’s how you interpret the terms of service, that’s your prerogative. But there’s nothing unique about Google Drive. If you’re going to scream loudly about the terms of service as they apply to Google Drive, be sure that you understand that this situation reaches far wider than just the brand-new storage service.

  1. I am most definitely not a lawyer. 

Get the Most Interesting Stuff

Leave your email address here and get occasional updates with the most interesting things I find online, created by others or me.


  1. says

    The part that everyone needs to come to grips with is all these GOOGLE services are considered FREE. If anyone consumer wanted to duplicate the sheer power and magnitude of what Google offers it would cost billions. Google offers a free service with options to upgrade and store all of our content for FREE. I’ve been a user of Google since it’s inception and have used GMAIL more as an archive/storage. Drive is simply an easier way to seek stored content while making it an excellent collaborative tool. CNET is simply looking to drive numbers and hits to their website by talking about popular HOT NEWS. IT’s all about screaming louder and leveraging others success to turn the spot light on your parade.

  2. says

    Oh man, I just lost ownership over everything!

    I kid. I can’t believe we are still debating about this when a few lines of reading indicates we are talking about licensing of content in the form of providing you with a service versus an actual, scary transfer of copyright of everything you upload, ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *