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Yes, Paolo. That is exactly what I understood their intent to be … to stop anyone from using any of their services (without a special “contract” that allows it) for such use cases. And, they do not want people to use their data / content with any other GIS / Mapping service or to create other data sets.
This could be interpreted as … if you use a different geocoding service to store Lat/Long info, you cannot use the Google APIs to display a map or a map location pin, or any info about any building, place, point of interest, or anything about that location.
So even if your listings has its own details, store hours, photos, videos, ratings / reviews and gets the GeoCode from Google’s APIs and caches it for < 30 days and then uses the GeoCode to display a map with details, because “reviews”, “photos”, “videos”, and business hours are all “substantially similar functionality” to what Google MyBusiness / Places content offers … the terms would seem to prohibit such use cases.
Makes me wonder what Google has in the works for MyBusienss + AdWords Express … since they have been expanding the MyBusiness capabilities to offer farm more than just a “listing”, map view, and ratings / reviews.
Stiofan, thanks for looking more deeply into this and for checking with Google. It will be very interesting to hear what they have to say, and I’m looking forward to any insights you can provide.
Yes, 3.2.4c(iii) sounded the major alarm bells since its wording strikes at the very heart of your core product and a main pillar of my business model and monetization strategy.
When considering together the general restrictions of 3.2 and 3.2.2 with 3.2.4 … and especially 3.2.4c(ii) … it’s hard to imagine how to use Google’s robust APIs without violating the new Terms of Service to build a listings site that is essentially “an advertising service.”
What’s sad is that such a service is actually making / consuming API calls which they are now monetizing more aggressively. So they would actually benefit financially.
Logically it would seem that this stems from:
- concerns over exposure to potential legal liability (GDPR ?), OR
- they are trying to prevent “competition” with MyBusiness, OR
- they are having a major issue with people scraping / reusing / augmenting their “content” and they are looking for the legal standing to stop it and seek damages from violators.
All three (and especially the last one) could explain why they insist on having billing information to even access the APIs.
By creating the billing account it is clear evidence of the contractual relationship (new terms of service apply), and they have verified identity and billing address information they can use in service of legal processes.
Thanks again for checking into this and reporting back the details.
CraigThis reply has been marked as private.
Thanks for jumping on this Paolo. If we are both coming to the same conclusion then we are probably reading it right and that’s a big deal for you guys, for me, and for everyone in the GD Community.
Fortunately, the OpenStreetMap is a workable fallback.
Google is global and the legal implications may be different in different countries. With respect to the USA, it will be important to know how the terms would be interpreted / applied in a California court since that is the applicable jurisdiction.
Maybe the GD Showcase site will be helpful to everyone:
Possible alternatives in addition to OpenStreetMaps:
APIs / SDKs: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/maps/choose-your-bing-maps-api
Tech Docs: https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/dd877180.aspx
MapFit would likely be more affordable than Bing for active sites. MapFit’s maps are not that pretty but they are functional. It could be promising for some use cases and certain types of directories. Unfortunately, they do have a prohibition on “Business Listings” types of sites, but they also offer Enterprise Agreements that may provide more directory friendly provisions.
With Bing, it appears that the real details of permitted and prohibited uses will lie within the various provisions included in the terms of service agreements and licensing agreements. Since it is Microsoft it will take some decent lawyers and some cash in the bank since Microsoft rarely offers anything for free that is not monetized in some way.
Hope this is helpful. And, I look forward to updates from you, the GD Team, and the community.
Note: My previous post regarding the changes to the Google Maps Platform was re-posted as a new topic here:
Please add your replies, thoughts, feedback, and suggestions to the new topic thread. Thanks!
Hey GeoTeam and GeoCommunity:
This Google Maps Platform thing may have broader implications for anyone using / relying on Google Maps … and especially the GeoDirectory community. Most of the discussions I have read here and around the web all seem to focus on the changes in the pricing model and the changes to the APIs.
However, I have not found anyone really discussing the revised Terms of Service for Google Maps that goes into effect on June 11, 2018 when the Google Maps Platform goes live.
Specifically, Section 3 of the updated Terms of Service concerning the License, restrictions on certain use(s) of the APIs and the data they return (defined as “map content”) are worth reviewing and considering their implications for your site / application.
I am not a lawyer or legal guru, but some of the things I read in the new terms are worthy of discussion. Please chime in with your thoughts and feedback. Here are the Links to the new Maps Platform Terms of Service and Service Specific Terms for various Maps Platform functionality.
- Terms of Service Link: https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/terms/
- Service Specific Terms Link: https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/terms/maps-service-terms/
Section 3.1 Grants the License. I see no issues with this.
3.1 License Grant. Subject to this Agreement’s terms, during the Term, Google grants to Customer a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, license to use the Services in Customer Application(s), which may be: (a) fee-based or non-fee-based; (b) public/external or private/internal; (c) business-to-business or business-to-consumer; or (d) asset tracking.
Section 3.2 Adds “restrictions” on the License Grant for specific uses. From what I read, the sub-sections of Section 3.2 could create several issues for directory sites and site owners. Of primary concern are Sections 3.2.3 and 3.2.4.
3.2 License Requirements and Restrictions. The following are conditions of the license granted in Section 3.1. In this Section 3.2, the phrase “Customer will not” means “Customer will not, and will not permit a third party to”.
3.2.2 General Restrictions. Unless Google specifically agrees in writing, Customer will not: (a) copy, modify, create a derivative work of, reverse engineer, decompile, translate, disassemble, or otherwise attempt to extract any or all of the source code (except to the extent such restriction is expressly prohibited by applicable law); (b) sublicense, transfer, or distribute any of the Services; (c) sell, resell, or otherwise make the Services available as a commercial offering to a third party; or (d) access or use the Services: (i) for High Risk Activities; (ii) in a manner intended to avoid incurring Fees; (iii) for activities that are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) maintained by the United States Department of State; (iv) on behalf of or for the benefit of any entity or person who is legally prohibited from using the Services; or (v) to transmit, store, or process Protected Health Information (as defined in and subject to HIPAA).
Section 3.2.3(c): Gives Google the right to review the site(s) / application(s) to ensure Compliance.
3.2.3 Requirements for Using the Services.
(b) Attribution. Customer will display all attribution that (i) Google provides through the Services (including branding, logos, and copyright and trademark notices); or (ii) is specified in the Service Specific Terms. Customer will not modify, obscure, or delete such attribution.
(c) Review of Customer Applications. At Google’s request, Customer will submit Customer Application(s) and Project(s) to Google for review to ensure compliance with the Agreement (including the AUP).
Now for the really critical stuff … what Google classifies as “Misuse” of the Services. Pay special attention to:
- Section 3.2.4(a)(i)-(iii),
- Section 3.2.4(b),
- Very important – Section 3.2.4(c) and especially 3.2.4(c)(ii), 3.2.4(c)(iii), and 3.2.4(c)(iv), and
- Section 3.2.4(d)
3.2.4 Restrictions Against Misusing the Services.
(a) No Scraping. Customer will not extract, export, or scrape Google Maps Content for use outside the Services. For example, Customer will not:(i) pre-fetch, cache, index, or store Google Maps Content for more than 30 days; (ii) bulk download geocodes; or (iii) copy business names, addresses, or user reviews.
(b) No Creating Content From Google Maps Content. Customer will not create content based on Google Maps Content, including tracing, digitizing, or creating other datasets based on Google Maps Content.
(c) No Re-Creating Google Products or Features. Customer will not use the Services to create a product or service with features that are substantially similar to or that re-create the features of another Google product or service. Customer’s product or service must contain substantial, independent value and features beyond the Google products or services. For example, Customer will not: (i) re-distribute the Google Maps Core Services or pass them off as if they were Customer’s services; (ii) create a substitute of the Google Maps Core Services, Google Maps, or Google Maps mobile apps, or their features; (iii) use the Google Maps Core Services in a listings or directory service or to create or augment an advertising product; (iv) combine data from the Directions API, Geolocation API, and Maps SDK for Android to create real-time navigation functionality substantially similar to the functionality provided by the Google Maps for Android mobile app.
(d) No Use With Non-Google Maps. Customer will not use the Google Maps Core Services in a Customer Application that contains a non-Google map. For example, Customer will not (i) display Places listings on a non-Google map, or (ii) display Street View imagery and non-Google maps in the same Customer Application.
(e) No Circumventing Fees. Customer will not circumvent the applicable Fees. For example, Customer will not create multiple billing accounts or Projects to avoid incurring Fees; prevent Google from accurately calculating Customer’s Service usage levels; abuse any free Service quotas; or offer access to the Services under a “time-sharing” or “service bureau” model.
(f) No Use in Prohibited Territories. Customer will not distribute or market in a Prohibited Territory any Customer Application(s) that use the Google Maps Core Services.
(g) No Use in Embedded Vehicle Systems. Customer will not use the Google Maps Core Services in connection with any Customer Application or device embedded in a vehicle. For example, Customer will not create a Customer Application that (i) is embedded in an in-dashboard automotive infotainment system; and (ii) allows End Users to request driving directions from the Directions API.
(h) No Modifying Search Results Integrity. Customer will not modify any of the Service’s search results.
(i) No Use for High Risk Activities. Customer will not use the Google Maps Core Services for High Risk Activities.
Then, there is Section 4.2 …
4.2 Compliance. Customer will: (a) ensure that Customer’s and its End Users’ use of the Services complies with the Agreement, including the applicable Services’ AUP and URL Terms; and (b) use commercially reasonable efforts to prevent, promptly notify Google of, and terminate any unauthorized use of or access to its Account(s) or the Services.
And then, Section 5.1 … Violations of License Restrictions
5.1 For License Restrictions Violations. Google may Suspend the Services without prior notice if Customer breaches Section 3.2 (License Requirements and Restrictions).
Section 11.5 regarding Termination and the clauses that survive Termination:
11.5 Effects of Termination.
11.5.1 If the Agreement is terminated, then: (a) the rights granted by one party to the other will immediately cease; (b) all Fees owed by Customer to Google are immediately due upon receipt of the final electronic bill; and (c) Customer will delete the Software and any content from the Services by the termination effective date.
11.5.2 The following will survive expiration or termination of the Agreement: Section 2 (Payment Terms), Section 3.2 (License Requirements and Restrictions), Section 4.5 (Data Use, Protection, and Privacy), Section 6 (Intellectual Property; Feedback), Section 10 (Confidential Information), Section 11.5 (Effects of Termination), Section 14 (Disclaimer), Section 15 (Indemnification), Section 16 (Limitation of Liability), Section 19 (Miscellaneous), and Section 20 (Definitions).
And finally, the Definitions in Section 20. I included only the ones that seem to be most applicable. It is important to note that Google defines the “Google Maps Content” as a component part of the Services covered by the License Grant and the License Restrictions.
“Account” means Customer’s Google Account.
“AUP” or “Acceptable Use Policy” means the then-current Acceptable Use Policy for the Services at: https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/terms/aup/.
“Customer Application” means any web domain or application (including features) listed in the Admin Console.
“Customer End User” or “End User” means an individual or entity that Customer permits to use the Services or Customer Application(s).
“Customer Indemnified Materials” means the Customer Application and Customer Brand Features.
“Google Indemnified Materials” means Google’s technology used to provide the Services (excluding any open source software) and Google’s Brand Features.
“Google Maps Content” means any content provided through the Services (whether created by Google or its third-party licensors), including map and terrain data, imagery, traffic data, and places data (including business listings).
“Indemnified Liabilities” means any (a) settlement amounts approved by the indemnifying party; and (b) damages and costs finally awarded against the indemnified party and its Affiliates by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“including” means “including but not limited to”.
“Intellectual Property Rights” means current and future worldwide rights under patent, copyright, trade secret, trademark, and moral rights laws, and other similar rights.
“Legal Process” means a data disclosure request made under law, governmental regulation, court order, subpoena, warrant, governmental regulatory or agency request, or other valid legal authority, legal procedure, or similar process.
“Package Purchase” has the meaning set out in the Service Specific Terms.
“Personal Data” has the meaning provided in the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27, 2016.
“Prohibited Territory” means the countries listed at https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/terms/maps-prohibited-territories/.
“Project” means a Customer-selected grouping of Google Maps Core Services resources for a particular Customer Application.
“Services” and “Google Maps Core Services” means the services described at https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/terms/maps-services/. The Services include the Google Maps Content.
“Service Specific Terms” means the terms specific to one or more Services set forth here: https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/terms/maps-service-terms/.
“Software” means any downloadable tools, software development kits or other such proprietary computer software provided by Google in connection with the Services, which may be downloaded by Customer, and any updates Google may make to such Software.
“Terms URL” means the following URL set forth here: https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/terms/.
“Third-Party Legal Proceeding” means any formal legal proceeding filed by an unaffiliated third party before a court or government tribunal (including any appellate proceeding).
“Trademark Guidelines” means (a) Google’s Brand Terms and Conditions, located at: https://www.google.com/permissions/trademark/brand-terms.html; and (b) the “Use of Trademarks” section of the “Using Google Maps, Google Earth and Street View” permissions page at https://www.google.com/permissions/geoguidelines.html#geotrademark policy.
“URL Terms” means the following, which will control in the following order if there is a conflict:
(a) the AUP;
(b) the Google Maps/Google Earth Legal Notices at https://www.google.com/help/legalnotices_maps.html;
(c) the Google Maps/Google Earth Additional Terms of Service at https://maps.google.com/help/terms_maps.html;
(d) the Service Specific Terms;
(e) the SLA; and
(f) the Technical Support Services Guidelines.
Given the new terms, is it still reasonable to use Google Maps Platform for a directory where members (customers) pay to get listed in the directory? It would seem that this sort of site is what Google is specifically trying to prevent from using its services … or any part of them … to create / operate this type of site.