Why Google Drive may NOT be where you want to store your images

Regular readers know that I am a very strong advocate of your work remaining yours.  I've been fairly critical of web services that through their End User License Agreement require you to give all your rights away to your own property.  While I know that there are workarounds for some photo sharing sites (use only small low quality thumbnails), in general I only recommend sites that protect your intellectual property and most times there is a fee involved. Recently the folks at Google opened a new service called Google Drive.  Ostensibly it looks like it competes with Dropbox and to a lesser extent with Microsoft's SkyDrive.  I am not snubbing SkyDrive, it's only that Dropbox is the 800 pound gorilla at the moment.  I like Dropbox.  One of the many reasons I like Dropbox is that their EULA specifies that what is mine is mine and that I can have everything on their myriad servers encrypted.  I pay for the privilege of lots of reliable cloud storage.

Google Drive provides an initial 5GB of storage for free.  A decent offer to be sure but if you care about your intellectual property, don't just click through the "by clicking here you agree to the license agreement that is really long and hard to read and located at this other place..." because when you click ok, you grant Google irrevocable rights forever to anything you put on Google Drive.  That might be just fine with you, particularly if you buy into the argument that Google has a zillion customers and won't have the time to look at and redistribute your stuff.  If it's not fine with you and you still want to use Google Drive for something then DON'T put your photos or videos or screenplays or anything you want to remain private up there.

The latin phrase Caveat Emptor has existed for centuries for very good reason.  And as Robert Heinlein said very clearly over 50 years ago, TANSTAFFL.

(There ain't no such thing as a free lunch)

I definitely credit Google for making the service available and also for having an understandable if a bit lengthy EULA.  They are far from the worst offenders and consistently let you know up front their intent.  I have read an article that says they do this in their EULAs because people can email things from their account and since there is no way to know how many hops an attachment will take and where it will be stored en route, they have to do this.  That email and attachments are stored (and are retrievable at any time) in myriad waypoints is factually correct, but the EULA makes no explicit commentary on this point, and is much wider ranging.  Google has a business to run and are very clear that they could use anything you put on their services to foster that business.  You do have freedom of choice.  To say as the other writer did that the EULA exists to handle the risks created by unencrypted email is akin to using a 10 gauge shotgun to hunt sparrows.  It's a spurious argument.  Google is a business and provides services that someone has to pay for.  If you aren't paying for them, someone else is.

If you don't like this reality, don't participate.  That's your choice.