Google+, Day 25: Another Look at Google+ Privacy

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Google Terms of Service

On Day 15 I quoted an excerpt from the Google ToS that seems to suggest that once you share something with Google all bets are off and Google can essentially do what it wants with that content. My Google representative explained that my perception is perhaps a bit overly paranoid.

What I was told is that the terms defined in Section 11 of the Google ToS are designed to give Google the legal authority to post your content on Google services. Basically, these permissions grant Google the permission it needs to take the content you send to Google and share it with your Circles on Google+, and to be able to comply with legal and technical requirements in sharing that information in different countries around the world.

The ToS is for Google, not Google+, so I've already agreed to them many times over.
Granted, the first part of Section 11.1--before the part I quoted on Day 15--states, "You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

I am still a bit leery of this one, though.The last part of Section 11.1 claims that it enables Google to use my content to display, distribute, and promote the Google services. Section 11.2 adds that Google has the right to share my content with other companies, organizations, and individuals Google has a relationship with.

If that part in Section 11.1 stopped at "display" and "distribute" it would fit with what I was told by Google. However, I still don't agree that Google needs me to grant permission to use my content to "promote" Google services. As for the part in Section 11.2, I can come up with some interpretations where this seems acceptable, but the wording also seems broad and vague enough that I am not really comfortable granting the permission.

It is worth noting, however, that these are the Google terms of service--not just Google+. Actually, when I clicked on the Google+ Privacy Policy it was just a big, blank square--so that ambiguity is open to interpretation. The bottom line, though, is that since I am already using other Google products and services I already agreed to these terms and it's a little late to start nitpicking them now.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With the iPad

Day 24: Is Google+ a More Engaging Social Network?

Day 26: Comparing Google+ with Twitter

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