In Mid-April, a new service came out from Google called Google Drive.
A free file storage and sharing service that you can upload files to Google and be able to share them with others or just store them and access them somewhere else.
I took a read at their Terms of Service however, and was a little shocked to see that Google Drive’s Terms of Service is actually slightly modified to be different from their brand new “One Terms Of Service For All” policy which was implemented earlier this year. Here’s what it says,
Google Drive Terms Of Service
“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).” Full TOS.
What Does This Mean For You?
It means you, as a small business owner, may use this free service to store files much like a cloud computing service as well as share them between co-workers and clients without needing to pay for a service, like Cloud Computing.
However according to these terms it means that, while Google does not own your files that you upload they can USE those files for whatever purpose that they have in mind for them.
Now it seems regulated to “improving Google services” but do you feel comfortable using Google Drive for your sensitive material?
Google Drive & SMBs – Not A Good Match
Personally, in your position as the small business owner I wouldn’t take this option.
I would take another free option that will not use my files for any reason. This option is called Dropbox and I have had the pleasure of using Dropbox so I am a bit more familiar with it.
How it works is you get a ‘Drive’ on your computer (It’s not a real drive it’s more a virtual drive) and you can drag and drop files into folders in the Dropbox drive.
From there, you can offer links to share with other people how to get to the files, be them documents, pictures, ect.. Take a look at one particular article of Dropbox’s Terms of Service though:
“Your Stuff & Your Privacy: By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below.” Full TOS
What’s that? I keep the rights and ownership to my stuff and you WON’T use it? And you’re still a free option?! Well that sounds a lot more enticing!
Do Your Homework
In the end though these options are free, so it doesn’t matter which one you choose as they both essentially do the same thing.
Though for the sake of sensitivity to the files I may share on one of these services, I don’t think for a small business I should use Google Drive, but instead Dropbox.
Dropbox had the exact same problem with their TOS at the beginning of their services, so hopefully Google will take the example and fix this problem, but for now Dropbox is the better option. At least Dropbox does not say that they can continue to use my files even if I stop using the service!
Have you thought about using Google Drive for your SMB? Has their TOS changed your mind? Share your thoughts!