Google Apps for Business

Google Apps for Business

If you’re anything like me, you’ve fallen in love with the Cloud.  I store all kinds of things up there.  I especially like Google Drive, but I also use Amazon Web Services for website backups and critical image storage.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have six external hard drives running on my desk and I don’t know how many I have in storage.

But a LOT of people don’t trust the Cloud.  And, Google at least, has given them good reason to worry.  Many people, especially photographers, don’t want to lose control of their data (i.e. their images = intellectual property).  Despite the uproar generated when DropBox came out with draconian wording in their Terms of Service (TOS):

“By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service.” Source April 24, 2012.

DropBox immediately backtracked and revised their TOS:

“This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services.”

When Google came out with Drive, their TOS read and still reads (as of April 25, 2016):

Your Content in our Services

Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This licence continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure that you have the necessary rights to grant us this licence for any content that you submit to our Services.

Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you with personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received and when it is stored.

If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our Services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts. We will respect the choices you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account. For example, you can choose your settings so that your name and photo do not appear in an ad.

You can find more information about how Google uses and stores content in the Privacy Policy or additional terms for particular Services. If you submit feedback or suggestions about our Services, we may use your feedback or suggestions without obligation to you.

However, if you pay for a Google Apps for Business (GAB) account, the TOS is dramatically different.  The clause above is simply not apart of the GAB TOS.  The pertinent sections of the TOS read:

  • 6. Confidential Information.
  • 6.1 Obligations. Each party will: (a) protect the other party’s Confidential Information with the same standard of care it uses to protect its own Confidential Information; and (b) not disclose the Confidential Information, except to Affiliates, employees and agents who need to know it and who have agreed in writing to keep it confidential. Each party (and any Affiliates, employees and agents to whom it has disclosed Confidential Information) may use Confidential Information only to exercise rights and fulfill its obligations under this Agreement, while using reasonable care to protect it. Each party is responsible for any actions of its Affiliates, employees and agents in violation of this Section.
  • 6.2 Exceptions. Confidential Information does not include information that: (a) the recipient of the Confidential Information already knew; (b) becomes public through no fault of the recipient; (c) was independently developed by the recipient; or (d) was rightfully given to the recipient by another party.
  • 6.3 Required Disclosure. Each party may disclose the other party’s Confidential Information when required by law but only after it, if legally permissible: (a) uses commercially reasonable efforts to notify the other party; and (b) gives the other party the chance to challenge the disclosure.
  • 7. Intellectual Property Rights; Brand Features.
  • 7.1 Intellectual Property Rights. Except as expressly set forth herein, this Agreement does not grant either party any rights, implied or otherwise, to the other’s content or any of the other’s intellectual property. As between the parties, Customer owns all Intellectual Property Rights in Customer Data, and Google owns all Intellectual Property Rights in the Services.
  • 7.2 Display of Brand Features. Google may display those Customer Brand Features authorized by Customer (such authorization is provided by Customer uploading its Brand Features into the Services) within designated areas of the Service Pages. Customer may specify the nature of this use using the Admin Console. Google may also display Google Brand Features on the Service Pages to indicate that the Services are provided by Google. Neither party may display or use the other party’s Brand Features beyond what is allowed in this Agreement without the other party’s prior written consent.
  • 7.3 Brand Features Limitation. Any use of a party’s Brand Features will inure to the benefit of the party holding Intellectual Property Rights in those Brand Features. A party may revoke the other party’s right to use its Brand Features pursuant to this Agreement with written notice to the other and a reasonable period to stop the use.

So, if you’re worried about retaining ownership of your intellectual property, go the Google Apps for Business route. Don’t bother with the $5/month account. I recommend the $10/month account because you get the more business friendly TOS and you get 1 TB of storage in Google Drive per user.  Once you get to 5 users (or $50/month), you get unlimited storage.  I’d like to see the business model behind this ;).

If you’d like some help with setting up Google Apps for Business on your own domain, we can help with that.  Just contact us at

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