There has been a lot of movement in cloud based services recently, especially Google and SkyDrive. Depending on your needs it was clear that the most cost effective and popular were a combination of Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive. For me I had the opportunity to get 25Gb of cloud space for free with SkyDrive and so by default that was the logical choice. Here is a slightly biased comparison.

Today Google Drive made some additional announcements (increases in size and integration) and so I took the opportunity to go over the Terms of Service (TOS), and I was a little shocked (bolding and highlighting is mine):

Your Content in our Services

Some of our Services allow you to submit 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 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. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing 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 you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

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.

Let me get this right if I create documents, store my photos, or upload music I produce I automatically give give Google and its partners a free worldwide license in perpetuity? Really? Google can also make derivative works cost free? I think not! Here is the Microsoft Service agreement for comparison, and also the following is the TOS from Dropbox:

By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below.

This is just a friendly reminder, please read the TOS for any service you start using, especially the free ones!