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Google under fire after new Chrome browser claims copyright of users' files

Posted on 2:44 AM by Sameer Shah

Google's new multi-million pound internet browser 'Chrome' has come under fire after a legal 'oversight' meant users lost the copyright of their own files.

The global giant received a flood of complaints because of a 'hidden' clause in its user agreement that claimed legal ownership of anything it displayed.

It meant anyone using the browser effectively lost the rights to their own photographs, videos, documents and other computer files stored or displayed online.

Google's 'End User License Agreement' (EULA) attracted so many complaints in a 24-hour period that it was forced to edit the offending clause.

It now states that users 'retain copyright and any other rights' that they hold on material posted or submitted online.

The blunder comes less than 12 months after Google launched 'Docs', a free word processing package, which also attracted complaints for a similar reason.

Rebecca Ward, a spokesman from Chrome, admitted the clause was inserted by accident.

She said Google re-uses its standard terms and conditions across its all its services 'in order to keep things simple for our users'.

But she added: 'Sometimes, as in the case of Google Chrome, this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don't apply well to the use of that product.'

Chrome was launched on September 2 as a rival to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox. Google chiefs claims Chrome can run twice as fast as these traditional browsers and was built to support online applications such as spreadsheets and email.



Sundar Pichai, Google's vice-president of product management, said: 'We realised that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser.

'What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build.'

Microsoft Internet Explorer currently accounts for 72 per cent of the browsing market, while Mozilla Firefox accounts for 20 per cent.

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