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Google Chrome: A warning for bloggers

September 3, 2008

It may not be evident by my posts here on M-BA, but I am a giant nerd. Those who have met have at least gatheres the “giant” part, but I tend to not write about things like tech or video games. Well, here’s a rare indulge my inner nerd post.

When I heard that Google was developing a new browser, I was excited. As a nerd, I know that Google recruits the best and brightest of the tech industry, and I was eagerly awaiting their take on that old standby, the web browser. Google Chrome was released in its beta form yesterday, with a lot of radical new features that excited the hell out of me. But, this is Google, so I was a bit leary of the EULA*.

I was right to be. CNET (check out their new style, it’s awesome) gives us some pointers to parts of the EULA that may make the browser less of a likely candidate for more tech-savvy users. It will update itself without permission from the user, and you may see more ads than normal. Not too bad, I guess. However, in a move that should strike fear (or nausea) into the hearts of all bloggers, we get this little gem:

2. Although you retain any copyrights to content you own and use in the browser, Google says it has a right to display some of your content, in conjunction with promoting its services. Here’s their exact wording.

“By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any content which you submit, post or display on or through, the services. This license 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.”

Yes, Google retains the right to use the content that you post through Chrome for it’s own promotion. You have no right to royalties, citation, or even a link back to your website. Listen, I’m under no illusion that I’ll make money off of my blog, but my content is mine and mine alone. If some uber-giant like Google wants to use it, fine; as long as I get credit for what they use. For this reason, I have to refrain from using a new tech that I was very excited about.

So, where’s the silver lining? Well, Chrome is distributed as open source under the BSD license. The BSD license basically states that you may use and modify the code as you will as long as you don’t violate the copyright of the code. That means that intrepid open source coders can make their changes, but the copyright for the code remains with gogle, and the coders cannot misuse Googles name in their naming and advertising of their product, i.e. “Dowload Googletastic Chromiyumiyumlolz”

Our choice, as bloggers who value our implicit onership of our content need to just wait a while until folks smarter than us release their version of the Chrome code without the advertising, unsolicited updates, or theft of our content. I give it a month, if that.

* EULA stands for End User License Agreement. It is the terms that the user agrees to by installing or using a piece of software.

SPECIAL PLEA: I think word of this needs to get out, so any blogger who reads this, in an effort to pass this info on is asked to stumble this, link this, or even cut and paste this information into your own blogs. I’m not even asking for citations or anything like that. Just get the word out there!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2008 6:50 am

    This is odd. So a blogger, say you, posts an article. A reader, say DonViti, reads your blog using Chrome. Google says it has it can run ads based on your content and give you diddly. Odd, indeed.

    Well, as a Mac user, I guess I don’t have to worry about that for awhile. 🙂

  2. September 3, 2008 6:51 am

    Thanks for the warning ! I never download anything until it has been out and about for at least 6 months and everyone else can tell me what’s wrong with it. It is tempting, for sure, but not worth the risk.

  3. September 3, 2008 6:56 am


    Not quite. It goes by content generated using Chrome. So, if I use Chrome to post, then that content can be used by Google without explicit permission. However, if DV is using Chrome to comment, then his comments are ripe for use by Google, even though the posts he reads with Chrome are not.


  1. Merit-bound Alley » Google Chrome EULA update

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