I was intrigued by Monday's news that Google would be releasing a browser yesterday. While I used both IE and Firefox regularly in my Windows days, I'm exclusively using Safari now that I'm back on a Mac. Safari isn't perfect, but I really don't need more than one browser. Since Chrome is currently available only on the Windows platform, I couldn't give it a shot on OS X, so I cranked up my Fusion Vista virtual machine and installed Chrome.
That's as far as I got.
I'm the rare person who occasionally reads the End User License Agreement, just to ensure that organizations aren't sneaking in anything nefarious--surrender of first-born, follow-on goat hexes on the Cubs, etc. The Chrome EULA is about as scary as anything I've ever read. Here's the part which should chap your ass:
11. 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. 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.
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.
11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.
11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.
Seriously? I mean, seriously? I'm sure I've violated some kind of law just by copying and pasting this text here onto my (Google-hosted) blog. But, c'mon. I get to retain my copyright to stuff I already own (mighty magnanimous of you), but Google gets to pervert it any other way possible? This EULA makes Mapplethorpe's stuff look pedestrian.
Let me get this straight. If I have a photo of someone in Picasa, a photo I took, just by viewing it in Chrome, you Mr. Google receive 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. (emphasis mine)
Sure, section 9.4 of the EULA claims that Google has no right/title/interest and/or no IPR to your stuff. And, sure, if it's on the Internet, people can get to it. But having content on the Internet is one thing. Google stepping up and giving themselves the right to pervert that content just because you viewed it in their browser is something else altogether.
I printed the EULA to PDF while I was installing Chrome, but didn't actually read it until after I'd installed and launched the application. Luckily, I hadn't done anything but fire up the app before getting into the EULA idiocy. I immediately deleted Chrome, scrubbed my registry, contemplated throwing away the entire virtual machine (but chose to only roll back to a snapshot), and wondered which of the Sony rootkit genius lawyers Google had hired to advise them on this EULA.
Then I took a hot shower, just for good measure.
I really, really like Google, but I like them less than I did yesterday. I host my blog with Google, I use Google Apps for Your Domain, I use Picasa, yadda, yadda, yadda. I've contemplated paying for Google Apps Premier, just for good measure.
But, whatever happened to "Don't Be Evil"?