Google continues to expand it’s service offering launching “Google Drive” which enables users to upload up to 5GB of data for free. SEO experts follow Google news like hawks looking for the latest information to improve search engine optimisation practices. There was much speculation on tech blogs April 21st when a leaked image of a Google employee’s screen showed “Drive” in his Google Account menu. That image went viral quickly and there was much speculation that Google refused to comment on. Now that it has been released and is being strategically rolled out the tech blogs are talking more about it’s privacy policy which has some ambiguous and somewhat worrying wording.

The concern was about text advising that anyone uploading content to Google Drive will be granting 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.”

Fear grew about Google Drive undermining intellectual property. It’s easy to be fearful of Google and Facebook, as these sites that know so much about us and keep records of all our private messages, searches and activity on the internet. It’s an unsettling feeling knowing that every single thing you do when logged into Facebook or Google is recorded and stored forever. And now with Facial recognition technology, your privacy on the web, Social Media sites in particular, is further compromised. But back to Google, the search giant needs your permission to license “host, store (and) reproduce” your files. It sounds like they could take your film script and “reproduce it” into a movie of their own. But this is a bit extreme, it makes sense if you want to share a document with someone else and enable them to make revisions. This also explains the wording Google requires the rights for “translations, adaptations or other changes.” The occasions when someone downloads a document or video from Google Drive in a public place say a Coffee shop or University lunch room requires Google to retain permission to “publicly perform” or “publicly display” such content.

All the furore may have been easily avoided if people paid closer attention to the phrase before the ambiguous wording:

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. – Google

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