This week online giant Google launched its latest product, Google Drive, but what can we all actually use it for? And most importantly who really owns the content we upload to it?
Google Drive was introduced this week, no it’s not some kind of lame racing game or the film Drive crammed with Google references, but it’s a new cloud storage service, like Dropbox.
But what does it actually do?
Well, two main things really.
Firstly, you can store anything on Google Drive (anything within reason, we’re talking all kinds videos, images, files, etc, not kittens) and because it exists in the cloud you can access it from pretty much anywhere else. That means no more awful, end it all now, sinking feeling when you realise you’ve left that important essay/presentation on your computer at home.
You can download Drive to your Mac or PC so it’s easy to transfer everything across to a folder, like you can with Dropbox, that will also be stored in the cloud. You can get the Drive app on your Android phone too, with an iOS version in the pipeline.
However, Google Drive isn’t just for storing things, it has Google Docs functionality built-in (in fact Google Drive has now eaten up Google Docs nom nom), so you can work on documents, amend them and collaborate with others as you usually do.
Oh and you can throw pretty much anything in there, like pdf, video, images and all kinds of different files.
Google Drive is very similar to Dropbox, but it offers the first 5GB of space for free as apposed to Dropbox’s 2GB, which could well win over those who haven’t used a cloud storage service in the past.
But who owns my stuff?
This all sounds very good and well until you start questioning whether you still fully own all of the content you add to Google Drive.
Well Cnet looked into Google Drive’s terms of service and here’s the interesting bit:
“Your Content in our Services: When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
“The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This licence continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps).
“You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”
At first it seems that Google will only be fishing around in your content for fairly valid reasons, but interestingly there’s no time limit AT ALL. So once it’s in Google’s hands it’s presumably there forever.
Of course for most people that won’t be a problem, but as Cnet points out these terms, “may well be enough to push away a great number of entrepreneurs and creative workers who rely on holding on to the rights to their own work.”
Although this may not be a huge issue if you want to throw a few holiday snaps and admin files in there, in a way you’re still relinquishing control of your stuff, even if it will improve the service. In our opinion this is really no big deal and hardly worth getting worried about, but it’s probably something you need to consider before you start uploading anything and everything.