Google Drive owns your data – sort of

Google Drive? What’s that?

Google’s cloud storage service has been around for a while, since 2012. Since then, it has become a popular service for storing documents and pictures. It also has gotten its own office suite dubbed Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It has all the features of any standard suite plus the capabilities to edit in real time with others. One of the major advantageous over competitors such as Dropbox or Microsoft’s Onedrive is the option for unlimited photo upload, as long as you let Google scale down the resolution. That’s a sweet deal. Google Drive might seem right to move your whole life to, but don’t jump the gun. Google has some sneaky intentions with all the data you upload.

What Can Google Do With Your Data?

The folks at Google have slid some restrictions deep into their Terms of Service. Check this passage out from their Terms of Service:

“When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) 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. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service.” – Google

What this text means is that  you retain all ownership of your files and they can’t just change it to public, but they can make a copy, use it in other software, and even sell it. Remember, this is without having to ask for you permission. When you signup for Google Drive, some kind of worldwide license agreement is automatically made between you and Google. This is the reason this is allowed to happen.

Many online storage services employ this strategy in their Terms of Service; it isn’t just Google that is doing this. Even though this data collection is going on, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use these online cloud services. If you are working on a document that isn’t that important, there is no way that will actually hurt you in the long run if that were to be used by Google. A reminder is to keep important files and documents offline and in a place where only you can access them. Never trust the cloud for storing documents of value.

P.S. Onedrive is my preferred service for personal files because they offer 1TB for all of the files if you have an Office 365 subscription. I also use Google Drive for school since these accounts are unlimited and from the school. I’m somewhat safe knowing that the data gets routed through the school instead of Google.

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