When Google released its browser called Chrome this fall, there was an unusually loud controversy about its End User Licensing Agreement (EULA). The company responded quickly to those complaints.
Now the contract with users has been changed again, with a number of sections deleted since yesterday. Chrome’s market share is already significant and the company is taking big steps to expand it further – that makes some of these new changes all the more interesting.
The original agreement gave Google sweeping rights to freely reuse any of the content that you sent through its browser, something that raised a lot of eyebrows. Just days after the browser launched, Google removed that section of the text, saying that it was mistakenly included as a part of a “boiler plate” license typical for all Google products!
Now that Chrome has made a surprise early exit from Beta status this week, that transition brought more changes to the contract we make with the company when we use the software. None of those changes are shocking, but since Google is now making moves to promote Chrome over Firefox and a Mac version is in the works, we’ve highlighted the five most interesting ones below.
You can find the Chrome EULA on this page, but here are the changes made yesterday that we found most noteworthy.
To summarize: children, robots and anonymous people are now welcome, you don’t have to worry about keeping your mouth shut and there’s no longer a method for terminating your relationship with Google described in the document.
Age Restriction Removed
Did you know that before yesterday you were not allowed to use Chrome if you were not of legal age to enter into a contract with Google? Prohibitions against young people using software are among the most commonly violated terms of service online, but as of today there is no longer any such restrictions on Chrome.
Personal Information No Longer Required
Part of the original Chrome EULA required that you had to give identification or contact information to Google and you were required to keep that information up to date. We’re thankful that’s no longer required; Google knows more than enough about us already.
Automated Access No Longer Barred
We’re very glad that accessing the service through automated means is no longer prohibited. From screen scraping to remote testing – there are a number of important ways that automated access can occur. Only a portion of the traffic on the web these days is human anyway, don’t keep the robots from using Chrome too! The new rule is “just don’t mess anything up.”
No More Google Secrets
Though little more than a formality once the Beta was public, Chrome did require users to acknowledge that there could be Google secrets in the software. Acknowledging that is no longer a requirement, so breathe easy when having Holiday conversations with family about your new browser.
…But You Can Never Leave
As a part of the old Chrome EULA, there we instructions about how to get out of your side of the bargain as well as information about how Google might cancel the agreement. Your out is no longer part of the deal. Closing your account and sending Google a letter is no longer listed as a way to terminate your relationship with Google. But who would want to quit Google? We’ve grown so close over the years! You couldn’t go without Google, even if you wanted to.
These changes are interesting to look at and are fodder for important conversation, but we’re sure that a trained legal eye would see them very differently than we do. None the less, these are the terms we now agree to when we start accessing the web through Google’s browser. We hope the legal-ware treats us as well in the long term as the software seems to so far.