Oh it's worse than that.
. . . some speculating that Google is using privacy as a pretext for putting the interests of its ad business over those of browser users.
The following comes directly from the Google terms of service .. . .
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 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.
The term "Services" appears in quotes, and is subsequently capitalized, which by standard usage indicates that it is a defined term. Good luck finding the definition. In fact, based on the thirty minutes or so I just spent looking for it, it doesn't appear to exist.
I guess this is what is meant by a legal fiction.
The first paragraph sounds good, but is deceptive.
Pick a simple example. I am a songwriter. I write a song. I store it on the Google cloud, I email it to a friend using Google mail. In reality I still own the "property", but Google now owns the rights that give the property its value. The "limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones" is really no limitation at all.
Is my tune catchy . . . Google can use it in their ads to "promote" their services. Will having Justin Timberlake record it and post it on YouTube promote their service. . . You bethca.
In fact, I am hard put to think of a category of intellectual property that could not, under Googles' business model, arguably fall under one of these "limited purposes."
This is a simple example in a set of issues that is immensely complex. In fact, this kind of taking of individual property rights and value has become almost universal in the information technology sector, and has begun to migrate in modified forms to other sectors.
I read the fine print and a few years back I encountered an SLA that contained a provision that by utilizing the service I gave the service provider "ownership of [my] corporate name, telephone number, and address." I promptly called "bullshit!" on this. The technical help desk's response was "well that's obviously not what it means," My response was, "But that's what it says. Go ask your lawyers." They did. Whereupon a miracle occurred. . .
I got a call from their lawyer, who agreed that was, indeed, the legal effect of the language. Then he explained their problem. Part of their service was explicitly for publication of certain information. Someone had had the bright idea of purchasing this service and then suing them for disclosing their information. The service provider forced the issue, and prevailed in court, but at some unnecessary expense. I suggested that what they needed to do then was change the wording to specify use of, for the specific purposes of, and that's what they did.
But, they have proven to be a shining exception to what has become a universal practice. That is to claim the rights to everything, and present the customer with a take it or leave it proposition/
An earlier post used the term Evil. That's a good word for this kind of disregard for the rights of others and what is right. It is a cancer that has the potential to destroy the utility of our information infrastructure and the stability of society itself.