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I came across a section of the Google Maps Terms of Service (link) that confuses me. I am currently developing a phone app and would like to use Google Maps. Is this section saying that Google owns my app?

Thanks for the help!

  1. Google’s Proprietary Rights.

You understand and agree that Google and its licensors and their suppliers (as applicable) own all legal right, title, and interest in and to the Service and Content, including any intellectual property rights in the Service and Content (whether those rights are registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist).

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In this case, Service refers to Google Maps and Content refers to the contents served via the Google Maps Service.

This section exists to explicitly reserve Google's proprietary rights with respect to these. In allowing you to use their Service and Content, they do not cede any proprietary right to them.

  • By "Contents served via the Google Maps Service", would my app be what google maps is serving? So the Google Maps Service serves my app? – Hokie2014 Jan 20 '16 at 0:56
  • Your app serves Google Maps Content. The Google Maps Content is served by the Google Maps Service. In case it's not clear Google does not own your application just because you've used their Services or Content. – jimsug Jan 20 '16 at 0:59
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No, it's not saying that Google owns your app. It's saying that Google owns Google maps. You'll find that the capitalized terms Service and Content are defined earlier in the terms of service.

In particular, it seems to mean that Google continues to own Google's stuff even when users get to that stuff through your app. If you started making millions from the app, you could expect that they'd want some if that, but the parts of the app that done rely on Google's stuff remain yours. If you make millions from a recipe app in which the maps component plays a very minor or even ancillary role, they would have a claim on much less of your revenue than they would if you were selling a travel planning app.

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