Google has, somewhat belatedly, entered the "free" cloud storage market.
Their offering of 5GB (as opposed to the 2GB available elsewhere) is designed to be attractive when you cross the 2GB barrier and otherwise have to use a paid service. Some may argue this is unfair competition: that is not the issue to be discussed here, more are you giving away the family jewels?
We have trialled and abandoned a number of these services. Our main issue is their ability, every now and again to start duplicating files, overwriting later versions, or simply hanging on to a file rendering it unusable until the machine is rebooted. Maybe it's because we evaluated them earlier in their development cycle, maybe it's an inherent flaw. Maybe we are dubious about the security of our data.
So when master of taking large "free" data and making a profit from it comes along and offers a "free" service its perhaps worth looking more closely at what you will be signing up for.
The Google T's and C's give then them the following rights:
"When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones" [services].
Now these are pretty large doors that are opening on what was previously your closely guarded intellectual property. Moreover storage of your intellectual property (aka IP) will be bound by the Data Protection Act in the UK. You may well be breaking the act if you use Google's services with these wordings.
These words and attempts at copyright acquisition are not necessary. Compare Google's "do no wrong" wording with big bad Microsoft's:
"Except for material that we license to you, we don't claim ownership of the content you provide on the service. Your content remains your content. We also don't control, verify, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the service. You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service."
It seems to me that MS with their army of lawyers are taking a far fairer, tighter and more responsible approach to their terms of service than Google with their army of lawyers.
In either respect, when you use a cloud service, the servers may be outside the EU in which case the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidance and rulings will apply.
Put simply, you may be hazarding your licence as a data bureau by using a cloud service (especially Google's with their current T's & C's) for data storage and therefore putting your company at risk.
Ava use both Microsoft's and Google's services, although not necessarily the ones referred to in this article.