Im Ditching Google - Why Dont You Join Me

Author: Steven Neiland

Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Today I received the new google privacy policy and TOS in my email. At first glance it didnt seem to bad but on a second read I realized just how draconian it really is.

To start let me give you a few choice quotes from the new TOS.

Note: This is my interpretation of the TOS only. I am not a legal expert, this is only my take on the new TOS.

4.4 You acknowledge and agree that if Google disables access to your account, you may be prevented from accessing the Services, your account details or any files or other content which is contained in your account.

Translation: If google shuts down your account you may not be allowed to download/save any of your content or delete you profile data.

8.3 Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service. For some of the Services, Google may provide tools to filter out explicit sexual content. These tools include the SafeSearch preference settings (see In addition, there are commercially available services and software to limit access to material that you may find objectionable.

Translation: Google reserves the right to censor you if you put up something they don't like.

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. 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.

Translation: Google can (and will) do what ever they want with your content.

11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

Translation: Google can sell your content to third parties.

These new TOS might not be a big deal to some people but I personally think they fly in the face of "Dont Be Evil". In addition the fact that google now owns youtube and has its own social network "Google+" makes me very nervous.

Now I am a web developer and I have used google services since nearly day one. They have helped me enormously and they have helped the web in general become what it is. However these new TOS really go a step too far from me.

The very fact that Google is so forcefully pushing everyone to use Google+ and is now integrating it in search results makes me uncomfortable. But when combined with these new TOS and considering how integrated Google is in our daily lives now I get really uncomfortable. Im not saying they are going to do bad things with our information...but the door has now been opened a lot more to the possibilities.

So with that in mind I plan over the next month to disconnect myself from google as much as possible. I don't imagine it will be that easy and I expect fom client work I will still have to use google, but for personal use I intend to fully stop using google until such time as they reconsider their attitudes towards their users and the content of those users.

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