Update @ 4:15PM: Well that didn’t take long. Google contacted the folks at ArsTechnica.com saying the EULA is a mistake and will be corrected ASAP and the changes will be retroactive for folks who have already downloaded the software:
Google’s Rebecca Ward, Senior Product Counsel for Google Chrome, now tells Ars Technica that the company tries to reuse these licenses as much as possible, “in order to keep things simple for our users.” Ward admits that sometimes “this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don’t apply well to the use of that product” and says that Google is “working quickly to remove language from Section 11 of the current Google Chrome terms of service. This change will apply retroactively to all users who have downloaded Google Chrome.”
Kudos for a quick response, but it appears that this isn’t the only controversial aspect of the new browser:
The auto-suggest feature of Google’s new Chrome browser does more than just help users get where they are going. It will also give Google a wealth of information on what people are doing on the Internet besides searching.
Provided that users leave Chrome’s auto-suggest feature on and have Google as their default search provider, Google will have access to any keystrokes that are typed into the browser’s Omnibox, even before a user hits enter.
What’s more, Google has every intention of retaining some of that data even after it provides the promised suggestions. A Google representative told CNET News that the company plans to store about 2 percent of that data—and plans to store it along with the Internet Protocol address of the computer that typed it.
In theory, that means that if one were to type the address of a site—even if they decide not to hit enter—they could leave incriminating evidence on Google’s servers.
You can stop this behavior by turning auto-suggest off, using Incognito mode, or by not using Chrome.
This is a disappointing discovery. The folks over at Gizmodo have an article up about a detail in the End User License Agreement (EULA) for Chrome, Google’s fancy new web browser, that definitely appears to be an attempt to claim a license to anything you happen to create while using said browser:
11. Content license from you
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.
11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.
Needless to say that’s certainly a deal-breaker in a decision on whether or not to use Chrome anytime soon. Even though I use a Creative Commons license on my blog there’s still plenty of content I create in a web browser that I’d like to maintain control over the rights for and using a tool that automatically grants a license to any company is out of the question.
It seems pretty clear the intent behind this is to enable them to come up with marketing materials that say “See what folks are doing with Chrome!”, but there’s nothing stopping them from using it for other purposes should they suddenly choose to do so.