Google Chrome Loses Luster over EULA, Privacy Concerns

Google's Chrome Web browser may be a highlight for open-source application development. Yet Google has moved to quell concerns that the EULA afforded Google a little too much control with regard to what happens to the information people entered into the browser window. Google's Omnibox also raises privacy concerns, but these don't seem to have much merit. Are you comfortable using Google Chrome?

For all of the glitz and glamour swirling around its Chrome Web browser, Google is working out to put out fires among corporate users concerned that the EULA enables Google to own source code and other proprietary information.
One day after Google's beta launch of the Web browser Sept. 2, users complained that Section 11 of the end-user license agreement gave Google too much control over information after it was entered into the browser.
An anonymous Google Watch reader told me Sept. 2 that his company is banned from using Chrome.
He also noted that a security officer of another organization told him Chrome was put on that company's banned software list, calling for users to remove it from their system. The reason? He explained:

"Google has included some extremely harsh terminology in their user license that gives them ownership of content you view through the viewer. In our environment that could include source code, proprietary information stored in PDFs viewed online and other property. Until we can research the impact, this browser will remain on the do not install list."

Google swiftly amended the section, but here is the original iteration of the section that troubled people:

"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."

A Google spokesperson told me Google has since updated the language in Section 11, which was culled from Google's broad Universal Terms of Service, used for many of Google's products.

Section 11.1 now reads: "You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."