Google Chrome EULA grants Google a license to anything you create while using Chrome. [Updated!]

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.

15 thoughts on “Google Chrome EULA grants Google a license to anything you create while using Chrome. [Updated!]

  1. Yeah, that’s crap.  Any art, literature, etc you post becomes free for Google to use for life.  Ummm… not just No. Hell No. 

    Guess I’m uninstalling Chrome tonight.  Doesn’t bother me too much as I didn’t like the feel of it in the first minute or two I had it open and promptly reverted back to Firefox with the thought I’d try it out more later.

  2. Don’t these companies realize that stuff like this just makes open-source software even more attractive? Google claims to be working on a Linux version of Chrome. I bet that will be a non-starter once the open-source community gets a load of this EULA.

  3. I think this refers to using whatever Google Apps are or will be integrated into Chrome. Of course, it’s entirely possible to read it as saying that you grant Google a very broad license for any content you own and display with Chrome, which makes me wonder how Google expects to track all this kind of license windfall.

    As far as I’m concerned and regardless of the intent and interpretation of this EULA, I do consider Google to the new Microsoft and inevitably, Google will be hated as much as Microsoft is today.

    As far as Chrome is concerned, the bulk of its attractive features (if any) will be integrated into FF by way of plugins or future versions. I haven’t had time to track down the relationship between Chrome and Chromium, but I’ll wait until there’s an open-source version of Chromium for Linux that doesn’t carry this licensing baggage.

    I’ve uninstalled Chrome for the time being, what with its security flaws and all.

  4. I’m willing to put this down to the software being beta.

    The EULA is probably some sort of a generic EULA that Google slaps on to everything by default. I understand that Chrome is supposed to be open source and once it becomes OS, it certainly won’t have a license like this. In anycase that bit in the EULA isn’t enforcable, unless Chrome actually spies on users, because Google can’t prove that you’ve used their browser.

    Personally I’m more concerned with the carpet bomb vulnerability.

    Also since Google wanted to improve the browsing experience, why couldn’t they make an ‘anti-blinker’. The sole reason I use adblockers is that animated ads are extremely annoying, so a switch to disable/enable all animated GIFs, Flash and stuff like that would’ve been great.

  5. I didn’t spot that bit saying that they actually are spying. Regardless of what the EULA says, that might run foul of privacy laws in many countries.

  6. The EULA is probably some sort of a generic EULA that Google slaps on to everything by default.

    It does look like a one size fits all license.

    I’m not convinced that the EULA is intended to mean what the folks at Ars Technica and elsewhere say, but until this is clarified, better be safe and not use Chrome.

    I understand that Chrome is supposed to be open source and once it becomes OS, it certainly won’t have a license like this.

    You can download Chromium right now, all 440MB or so. What I don’t know is what relationship these sources have to Chrome. Chrome == Chromium or Chrome == Chromium + secret sauce?

    Anyway, Chrome dispels the myth the Google can write both good and secure code.

    What really ticked me off is that Chrome uses both a boot-time program to run its automatic, no-opt-in updater as well as a scheduled job. I have no tolerance for software that forces updates on my PC.

  7. So will I , but give Chrome a year and a plugin infrastructure and we can talk again… The real question is whether or not it’s worth keeping a copy around if you design or own your own websites. You sort of want IE6, IE7, FF2, FF3, Opera, Safari, and now perhaps Chrome. Whee.

  8. You can stop this behavior by turning auto-suggest off, using Incognito mode, or by not using Chrome.

    I’m in favor of rebuilding Chromium into an incognito-only browser.

    The auto-suggest feature uses AJAX, which means that it phones home to Google by definition. The same goes for any live search, including Google on FF.

    All of this is reaching the point where I’ll stop using the GoogleNet.

  9. I tried Chrome out briefly yesterday, but for me, I don’t see any immediate advantages over Firefox, and given the security risks, I’ll probably just deinstall it.  Thanks to elwed and the rest of the geek community here for keeping us noobs apprised of developments.

    Speaking of geeks- here’s a rap video you might find amusing- I did.

  10. I posted on here two times with Chrome. Neither one shows up at this time. Also the EULA giving away anything I may create is a deal breaker. I just un-installed it.  angry

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