Comparing SkyDrive and Google Drive’s Privacy Policies

Yesterday Microsoft released its desktop application for SkyDrive in order to stay ahead of Google, who released theirs today. SkyDrive provides 25GB of space for current users and 7GB of space for new users, while Google only allows 5GB for free while both have upgrade-able options. If you use Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and other Microsoft services, you’re probably inclined to stay with SkyDrive. Likewise, for Google users who have been using Docs for years, Drive may be the more appealing option. However, let’s take a look at their privacy policies and what the two mega corporations plan to do with your data.

First, here’s how Microsoft feels about your content once you upload it:

5. Your content

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 control who may access your content. If you share content in public areas of the service or in shared areas available to others you’ve chosen, then you agree that anyone you’ve shared content with may use that content. When you give others access to your content on the service, you grant them free, nonexclusive permission to use, reproduce, distribute, display, transmit, and communicate to the public the content solely in connection with the service and other products and services made available by Microsoft. If you don’t want others to have those rights, don’t use the service to share your content.

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.

Please respect the rights of artists, inventors, and creators. Content may be protected by copyright. People appearing in content may have a right to control the use of their image. If you share content on the service in a way that infringes others’ copyrights, other intellectual property rights, or privacy rights, you’re breaching this contract. You represent and warrant that you have all the rights necessary for you to grant the rights in this section and the use of the content doesn’t violate any law. We won’t pay you for your content. We may refuse to publish your content for any or no reason. We may remove your content from the service at any time if you breach this contract or if we cancel or suspend the service.

And here’s what Google has to say:

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.

Now, they both sound very similar, but there is one very important difference. Both companies acknowledge that the data that you upload is yours and yours alone and they have no claim to it beyond providing you the service to use the data. However, Google’s privacy policy states that they may use the data in any way they see fit, while Microsoft states that their only claim to the data is to provide access to you in order to use it.

So which cloud service will you be going with now that two giants are battling it out over cloud storage?


  • Practice

    From legal point they are exactly same. It is just your interpretation that those are different.

  • I have been using Google Docs (along with all their other services) for years now. This just makes it easier to use and access my stuff. And since I still use Android phone and tablet, changing would get a bit more of a hassle.

  • Arduino

    and then point 6 of MS service agreement :

    In order to operate and provide the service, we collect certain information about you. As part of the service, we may also automatically upload information about your computer, your use of the service, and service performance.