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Google may stop providing services to you, or add new limits, at any time

“Google may also stop providing Services to you, or add or create new limits to our Services at any time.” However, at least a service is discontinued: Google will “where reasonably possible [...] give you reasonable advance notice and a chance to get information out of that Service.”

Topic: User choice

Google can use your content for all their existing and future services

The content you post on a particular Google service can be used by Google on other services you may not be aware of.

Topic: Waiving your right

Google can share your personal information with other parties

Google can share your personal information with other parties. For sensitive information (medical, racial, ethnic, political, religious or sexuality) Google requires “opt-in”. Google can also share or publish aggregated data that does not identify a person

Topic: Personal Data

Google enables you to get your information out when a service is discontinued

Google gives you reasonable advance notice when a service is discontinued and “a chance to get information out of that Service.”

Topic: User choice

Google keeps the rights on your content when you stop using it

The license that you grant to Google on content you upload to their services will continue even if you stop using the services. While this makes sense for some services (e.g. Google Maps) this applies by default to all Google services. Otherwise you need to check each service for ways to remove content and for specific clauses that restrict the license in time.

Topic: Scope of the copyright license

Partial archives of their terms are available

At http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/archive/ you can see at least one previous versions of Google's terms

Topic: Changes

Jurisdiction in California

“The laws of California, U.S.A., excluding California’s conflict of laws rules, will apply to any disputes arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services.All claims arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services will be litigated exclusively in the federal or state courts of Santa Clara County, California, USA, and you and Google consent to personal jurisdiction in those courts.”

Topic: Jurisdiction and governing laws

Google keeps your searches and other identifiable user information for an undefined period of time

Google collects a lot of information about the services you use and how you use them, including when you visit a website using a Google service for advertisement. In the past, Google stated in their Privacy Policy: “We strike a reasonable balance between the competing pressures we face, such as the privacy of our users, the security of our systems and the need for innovation. We believe anonymizing IP addresses after 9 months and cookies in our search engine logs after 18 months strikes the right balance”. Today, these limitations of time are gone from the Privacy Policy, although some pages still acknowledge this. So we must conclude that Google has decided to stop trying to find the right balance between privacy of users and their own needs.

Topic: Personal Data

This service tracks you on other websites

This service uses cookies to track you even if you are not interacting with them directly. Amazon for instance, use cookies to track your device and serve targeted advertisements on other websites (Amazon associates, websites using Amazon Checkout). They “obtain certain types of information when your Web browser accesses Amazon.com or advertisements and other content served by or on behalf of Amazon.com on other Web sites”. Google states in their privacy policy: “We and our partners use various technologies to collect and store information when you visit a Google service, and this may include using cookies or similar technologies to identify your browser or device. We also use these technologies to collect and store information when you interact with services we offer to our partners, such as advertising services or Google features that may appear on other sites.”

Topic: Anonymity and Tracking

Google posts notice of changes, with a 14-day ultimatum.

Google “will post notice of modifications to these terms on this page. [They] will post notice of modified additional terms in the applicable Service. Changes will not apply retroactively and will become effective no sooner than fourteen days after they are posted.” As far as changes to the privacy policy goes: “We will not reduce your rights under this Privacy Policy without your explicit consent.” and if changes are significant Google will email you for some services.

Topic: Notice of Changing Terms