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Why I won't be using Google Chrome

In three words, it's the EULA, stupid:

11. Content licence from you

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that 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 licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. This licence 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 combination with Google Docs that'd be ... bad. Especially for any working writers who think Google Docs (or similar services, such as Writely) are a great idea for backing up their work against catastrophic hardware failure. Maybe they'll fix the EULA (and it doesn't much matter to me anyway, until the promised Mac/Linux/other platform releases of Chrome show up), but it's not a good start for what's already the fourth most popular web browser out there today, by some reports.

Thanks, guys. What was that about not being evil, again?

Update: Well that retraction didn't take long ...!



The EULA applies to Google Docs no matter which web browser you use to access it, so using Google Chrome doesn't expose you to any additional risk. And it's open source under the BSD license, so you can always roll your own version if you don't like the license for Google's binary (unless you object to BSD, but it's a pretty reasonable license).


According to a Slashdot poster, it's the standard Google Apps EULA.


"Google Docs (or similar services, such as Writely)"? Last I checked, Google Docs was Writely. Maybe you should edit it and change it to Google Docs (or similar services, such as Zoho) :o)

The problem is, Google Chrome is just so damned fast. I will use it because in speed terms, it blows FF3 out of the water. I won't use it at work though because it doesn't handle corporate firewalls very well (or at all in the case of my employer).

Here's hoping that the EULA outcry will be enough to spark a change.


Yes, that's from the general Google EULA at attempts to reassure people that they don't mean it in an evil way.


I think the EULA should be a reasonable concern for anyone that actually cares about their IP.
It's quite easy to be swayed over by a neat, shiney new browser from someone that isn't microsoft. I just hope enough people become aware of this and understand the implications.


This strikes me as an oversight. However if you are super concerned and wanted to use the browser, the EULA does not apply to the source: so if someone was to build the source and distribute the binaries, it would not fall under Google's EULA.


Google attempting to reassure people that they don't mean it in an evil way reminds me of publishers who tell you that you shouldn't worry about a noxious clause because they never enforce it anyway. If they don't mean it in an evil way, why write it that way? We're not evil, but we reserve the right to be evil in the future.


"Never attribute..."

I suspect the same rationale applies to the Google Docs terms - lazyiness in lawyering. They didn't want to have to describe exactly how Google Docs lets you share with others.

It's no excuse though (in either case). They should be bothered.


Google's FAQ and the actual legal language of the ToS don't match. The ToS says they can use your copyrighted work to "publicly display" your content to "promote the Services" which doesn't match the FAQ, which says, "Whether you wish to keep your content totally private, or share it with the world, that's your choice."

I can understand a lawyer coming up with a blanket one-sided contract, since that's what lawyers do -- but a weaselly FAQ that misrepresents the contract is going too far.


Google long ago gave up on its motto of 'don't be evil'. Their active participation in the oppression of the Chinese people was just the start. Now it's just testing the boundaries of what evilness we'll accept, and extending them as they can.


if anyone takes a hit from Chrome getting released it will be Firefox; much of IE's users are people who don't want to be bothered with downloading another browser, so is suspect Microsoft is relatively safe


If they have a publicly posted FAQ explaining their EULA that says they aren't claiming your copyright, then you'd also be able to use that FAQ in any court case.


It's much the same stinking lawyer speak as you can be hit with by any ISP. They're sending your copyrighted material over their network, same as for lots of other people, and they don't ant unscupulaous customers or their lawyers left with a leg to stand on.

For something such as Chrome it doesn't even make that sort of wacky sense.


I think Yahoo! has a similar TOS for it's services, though not quite as broad. That's why people sometimes find their pictures showing up in ads and such...

It's a strange EULA for a web browser though.


Let's face it, most EULA's are pretty potty. Doesn't the EULA for OS X prohibit it from being used in nuclear facilities?


These are the people who think that the copyright laws don't apply to them, because it's too much trouble to actually ask the copyright owners for permission to upload their books, and authors should be grateful for the exposure, and it's for charitable purposes, and hey, we're Google and we're the good guys so if we're doing it it's Not-Evil by definition. (Yes, I did get this in person from a Googloid friend who couldn't understand why I might be a tad pissed off about their embrace-and-extend attitude to other people's intellectual property.)

Now, I may very well agree with them that it does me more good than harm to have my book available through their system -- but it would be nice, and it's a legal requirement, for them to check that with me first. Doesn't surprise me in the slightest that they've come up with this latest malarkey.


It doesn matter if this is the standard Apps EULA - Chrome is not Apps and I may very well use Chrome to access services other than Google services. As written, that section seems to claim ownership of anything you publish using Chrome. It is not restricted to Apps, etc. The entire point of legal language is to be as precise as possible (or conversely, to be vague and try to litigate claims I suppose). Google's intentions or trustworthiness aren't the issue - it's the actual language that we're bound by that's the issue.


The rumor is that the source of Chrome is licensed under a BSD-style license. I suppose someone will roll their own version, sans EULA.


I don't think this applies to Chrome at all, since it specifically refers to Google Services--the word processor, spreadsheet, and so on. It is also self-limited, which is very unusual. A pro writer (or anyone who wants to keep their documents confidential) can't rely on Google to keep their WP documents private, however, and therefore would be better off not using those services.


Randolph, nope. the very first clause of the EULA says that SERVICES are "Google's products, software, services and web sites". Chrome definitely qualifies.


It sounds like they were a bit scooped by a leak of that comic and decided to release a beta earlier than planned.

Good contracts, like good firewall scripts, first deny everything and then allow specific things through. That's all this is.


Looks like they're going to change it.



  • Content license from you
  • 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.


    Its release made one thing clear though, if there was any remaining doubt: ECMAScript is the Next Big Language. I'd bitch and moan, but really, it could be worse.


    I'm not worried about it too much. For one, it looks like Google wants other browsers to "steal" from Chrome and implement Chromes features into their browsers. Even to the extent of using Chrome's source code. Secondly, as has been stated, grab the source and roll your own to avoid the EULA. In fact soemone has already done this (but I can't remember the link).


    One of the classic use-cases for open sourcing an application.

    Chrome, we gather, has a fixed Javascript/ECMAscript engine, which Google would like to see everywhere for their benefit...

    It makes stuff using javascript faster, which people will like, a visible advantage at the unsophisticated user level and at the clever website developer level.

    The licence allows - encourages everyone to copy itinto their browser. It would be interesting to see the effect of a more restrictive licence than BSD though. Even without that, one of their competitors will have to follow them,,,


    Here ya' go:

    They admit they made a mistake. They're changing it. The change is retroactive.


    Has anyone seen a comparation of Tracemonkey vs V8? does anyone know the diff? but yeah it looks like ECMAscript is going to be a bad mama jamma.


    The idea that they have it set up so they can make retroactive changes to the terms really bothers me. I know it's the standard for EULAs these days, but that doesn't make it a good thing.

    It's also disappointing that the changes they've made so far only affect section 11. The rest of the EULA is pretty terrible as well, especially for something that was presented as being an overture to the open source community.


    I shall just note that, before the changes were announced, I checked the EULA presented as part of the Coogle Chrome install process.

    It's the standard Google Services wording. They were treating it exactly as if it were Docs or Mail, and that is something wildly inappropriate for a web browser, designed to be used with non-Google sites.

    Even if they rushed the beta release, this looks to be such a basic legal blunder that it does beyond incompetence. Whichever lawyer signed of on this has shown themselves incapable of understanding the contexts implicit in working for a company providing software and services to internet users.

    And leaving the basic legal framework until the last minute is the sort of project management done by somebody who struggles to pour piss out of a boot. The legal framework should be as much part of the design as the software specification. At the most basic level, this is a program meant to allow people to read the web, without entangling Google in copyright issues.

    This isn't just idiocy, this is ancient idiocy.


    About the 'can't use for nuclear facilities' clause. The most important part of nuclear facilities is the production of Plutonium from Uranium in a commercial nuclear power plant, that transmits its electrical power over the grid. 20% in the US, 80% in France, (if I remember correctly). So, in order to use that software without creating plutonium, your computer cannot be connected to the internet and must be running on an isolated non-nuclear generator.

    If you get more general, you can't run it in an hospital or medical facility, because they use several kinds of non-bomb but radioactive tracer products and radioactive sources.

    If you get more general, you have to mine, refine, and construct your own computer parts, because nuclear electricity was used in creating those parts.

    So, I don't think those programs have ever been legally run, even by the authors, since they decided to put that phrase in the license.


    Skip @ 10

    Their active participation in the oppression of the Chinese people was just the start.

    The "start" of what? People who argue this never seem to be able to argue past "So you'd rather them not provide Chinese internet users with search at all than provide search that complies with Chinese law in China?"

    We can discuss the extra-territorial application of laws if you'd like --- but I don't think the discussion will help your argument here.

    Now it's just testing the boundaries of what evilness we'll accept, and extending them as they can.

    Who is "we" in this sentence? Please don't presume to speak for anyone but yourself. "You" don't have to "accept" anything that you consider "evilness". No-one is forcing you to use any Google product or service whatsoever.

    Dave @ 30

    this looks to be such a basic legal blunder that it does beyond incompetence

    Having worked in large, multi-product programming teams, I'd say it looks exactly like Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.


    Good for Google for making the change quickly. In the meantime, continue to fight back. See

    READ CAREFULLY. By [accepting this material|accepting this payment|accepting this business-card|viewing this t-shirt|reading this sticker] you agree, on behalf of your employer, to release me from all obligations and waivers arising from any and all NON-NEGOTIATED agreements, licenses, terms-of-service, shrinkwrap, clickwrap, browsewrap, confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete and acceptable use policies ("BOGUS AGREEMENTS") that I have entered into with your employer, its partners, licensors, agents and assigns, in perpetuity, without prejudice to my ongoing rights and privileges. You further represent that you have the authority to release me from any BOGUS AGREEMENTS on behalf of your employer.


    More "our bad, we'll fix it" here -


    Is it enforceable? Its like leaving your car in a car park and letting the staff use it while you are out - like in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.


    xnfec, I'd wonder a lot about that. The version I saw, maybe because I have a UK IP-address, said that the law of England applies.

    That's right at the end.

    As a consumer, rather than a business, there may be all sorts of possible pitfalls, were Google to bring out the lawyers.

    Small Claims Court, anyone?

    As usual, I am not a lawyer, etc.


    Seems as though they just boiler plated their standard wording, whether or not it was applicable to the product.

    And we wonder why the crap comes out so full of bugs?


    Google Chrome is very fast, but there are no extensions.... so i keep my Firefox.


    SG: it's open source. I suspect someone will hack in support for Firefox extensions rather soon, if it's remotely feasible.


    @ Charlie Stross.

    That'd be awesome if they put in FF extension support.

    Or.. you could, you know, just use Firefox....



    I thought the same about my missing FF extensions until I realised that with the inspector and the "stats for nerds" plus the clean and clear way that the history is displayed I didnt need to extend my browser anymore it was all in the box.


    So it seems both the product and the legalese are beta. If only I could be sure they'll put as much effort into debugging the legalese as they'll put into debugging the product.


    @ 39

    It's open source . . . with a EULA that forbids copying or modifying the source code. I wish I were joking. Check section 10.2.


    Apparently there's a totally open-source version called Chromium. I am not certain of the difference. Really, I still prefer Firefox, but the tech has some impressiveness connected with it.

    I really like the being able to shut down malfunctioning tabs without collapsing the entire program and the java speed improvements. I HATE that I can't use my Google Bookmarks (of all things) or that bookmark implementation is so annoying (such as being turned off by default; who the HELL doesn't use bookmarks?)


    I can't see how FF extensions would be feasible to support. They'd need to rearchitect the entire browser and rendering engine to use XPCOM internally and lay out its user interface with JavaScript, and, well, a major reason why KHTML spawned WebKit and was reused all over the place is because it doesn't use the crawling horror which is XPCOM (and is much simpler and faster as a result).

    Some sort of extension support would be nice, but being compatible with FF seems like a lost cause to me. Hell, FF isn't even compatible with itself: new major versions often require substantial changes in extensions.

    (Laying out the UI with JS assistance still seems possible, and with Google's nifty new JS compiler should be much faster than doing the same thing in FF. But the JS would necessarily look quite different.)


    I want AdBlock. I want ScriptBlock. I want FlashBlock.

    I'll use a browser that doesn't have these, if I can have something functionally equivalent.

    Privoxy comes close, but is a pain to manage and I've mostly given up on it.

    What prospect does Chrome hold out for an unregenerate, curmudgeonly advertising-phobic user like me?



    I wouldn't have thought that Google would be in favour of ad-blocking extensions (assuming extensions are included in a later release), although I don't suppose they could do anything about an ad-blocking open source fork. But they might not care, given that apparently less than 3% of FF users user ABP.

    But an ad(and other unpleasantness)-blocking Chrome seems unlikely to appear before Google's JS innovations etc are included in FF, so I don't know why anybody would change.


    @47: in a word: compartmentalization. A browser that has a one-process-per-tab model and a strictly policed IPC mechanism for communicating between the master process and the per-tab processes is one that can't be taken down completely by a single buggy page. So if you're running a bunch of web apps in half a dozen tabs, and one of your everyday browsing tabs stumbles over a piece of buggy flash animation, you get to keep your web apps running while the dodgy tab bombs out.

    Firefox and IE aren't compartmentalized that way, and visiting a bad page can take down your whole browser experience.


    Chrome is so much better due to compartmentalization, oh really?

    Try this, open several pages, then in one of them type this "about:%" (that's about colon percentage) you'll see all the compartmentalised processes go down in unison. Chrome is just as vulnerable as IE, Firefox and every other browser. (They may fix this in future though)


    @28 Here's some benchmarks showing V8 and TraceMonkey results. (Of course, artificial benchmarks can always be dodged-up to show what you want)


    Additional fails in Google Chrome. Other than the UI design disaster (no, Microsoft's idea of eliminating the menu bar was crazy, not smart), there's a nasty security hole in Chrome itself, and one in Google Update revealed by Chrome.

    • Google Update allows Google (and anyone who can convince it that they're Google) to install any application on your computer just by viewing a web page, even if you're using Firefox.

    • Google Chrome includes a shim to allow Activex controls to work, even though they're not using the Microsoft HTML rendering engine. Given that ActiveX embedded in HTML has been the biggest security problem in Windows for the past decade, I can not imagine what they were thinking.


    Corporate paths of least resistance (from a business perspective). Stock boilerplate is stock boilerplate, I suspect that Charlie's agent goes through book contracts removing provisions that are obnoxious, that the publishers' legal departments have as standard and that apply to whatever unwary entities don't read through all the fine print and strikeout...

    The lawyers get paid to produce EULAs and such which maximize revenue, minimize "exposure," and minimize "risk." That previous sentence translates to, "Use our software at your own risk, not ours! Anything that doesn't work, is your problem, not ours. If if trashes your hard drive, tough, we don't accept any responsibility. If it copies everything on your drive and sends it to us, that's your problem, not ours, we don't do confidentiality or your, we want to make sure you're not stealing anything from us or our associates... if they or we effect trashing of your files and computers, tough, we're just protecting our investments and intellectual property...."


    Why did you parrot the Google slogan? Would you earnestly do that for the Pepsi slogan as well: choice of a new generation?

    Don't be a Slashdot clone. Google is a company with bulletproof PR that only the fanboys could have sold us on. Tired of hearing that slogan.


    say burr @53: who exactly are you addressing? Your comment is something of a non sequiteur, without additional context. (Either that, or you don't understand sarcasm.)


    Peter @ 51:

    ActiveX? Hey, everything here in Korea runs on ActiveX. I can't imagine that's why they included that, though it would give me a reason to use Google Chrome on Linux, just so I can, you know, use any site at all on the Korean web. Seriously, almost the whole country's web presence requires Windows XP or newer, and Internet Explorer 6.0 or newer, to do more than just browse... and sometimes even just that. (Using Linux here is not for the impatient.)

    Maybe a few other countries also remain dependent on cruddy ActiveX, and Google's leaving windows open for their markets? Beyond that, is there a good reason to put such a "function" (flaw?) in?


    That is, when it comes out on Linux, eventually. mumble


    Google has recanted already, but I'm still going to say it... Why does everybody ignore the MOST IMPORTANT sentence in that entire section of the EULA?

    "This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services"

    This is so horribly limiting as to make it a non-issue, really. Do you think Google is going to reprint your entire novel "for the sole purpose" of promoting the Chrome browser? No. And it would be a hard sell to the judge if they tried it. Likewise they are not going to use anybody's username and password to promote their browser, because that would just be tremendously stupid.



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