While users won’t be getting a new version of Chrome or Chrome OS for a while due to the coronavirus outbreak, Google has announced upcoming changes to its Terms of Service, effective March 31, that “make it easier for you to understand what we can expect from each other.”
It’s the first time since October 2017 that Google has updated the terms of service - PC World has summarised the important changes.
This section identifies the name and location of the company users are contracting with and that provides the services users use.
This new section clearly states that anyone under the minimum age required to manage a Google account must have a parent or legal guardian’s permission to use the service.
What users can expect from Google, what Google expects from users
These sections have clearer language regarding the services Google provides and rules of conduct for users.
Permission to use content
While little has changed, Google has simplified the language and clarified that it won’t publish user content publicly unless they’ve previously made it visible to others. Google also clarifies the rights and duration (as long as user content is protected by intellectual property rights) of the licence.
This section describes user and Google legal rights and has received numerous clarifications and updates. Where the section previously had a scary all-caps statement stating Google “WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST PROFITS, REVENUES, OR DATA, FINANCIAL LOSSES OR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES,” the new section is much easier to understand and read, explaining exactly what Google specifically won’t be responsible for.
It also adds language limiting Google’s liability in the event of a breach to the greater of US$500 or 125 per cent of the fees that users paid to use the relevant services in the 12 months before the breach.
Taking action in case of problems
This is a new section that explains why Google might remove content from user accounts or suspend an account, as well as user recourse in the event that happens.
Settling disputes, governing law, and courts
This section explains which laws and courts Google will use to resolve any legal disputes. Google intends to keep all disputes local, legally speaking: “California law will govern all disputes,” the new terms say, adding, “these disputes will be resolved exclusively in the federal or state courts of Santa Clara County, California.”
However, the company also allows that in some cases, “applicable local law” in other court jurisdictions may come into play.