A storm in a Chrome teapot

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Yesterday eagled-eyed Tap the Hive found some troublesome small print in Google Chrome’s T&Cs:

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.

In other words, “We own anything you do through our browser, forever.”

But this turns out to be the standard T&Cs Google puts through all its new products. And Arstechnica confirms today that Googles lawyers are “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.”

The EULA (end-user license agreement) is also largely unenforceable anyway since Chrome’s source code is distributed under an open license which is highly permissive and imposes almost no conditions or requirements on end users.

But somehow I doubt we’ll get away that easily from Big Brother Google. Chrome is quite clearly an opportunity for Google to better finesse its advertising targeting by finding out what search terms we use when we’re not using a search engine – the one aspect of online behaviour Google hasn’t been able to accurately look at… until now…

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