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This starts out as a chastisement for Google and ends up congratulatory. Read on for details.

So Google launched an app gallery for Google Analytics – how interesting can that be you ask? Well quite interesting from a “who owns my stuff perspective” but first an intro about the gallery.

In announcing the gallery, Google had this to say:

Google Analytics is not simply a product but also a growing ecosystem of developers, tools, users, and partners…All Google Analytics customers have access to a worldwide network of Google Certified Partners(formerly known as Google Analytics Authorized Consultants). And now the ecosystem is growing further with developers who are creating a variety of applications on the Google Analytics platform. Today, we’re announcing the Google Analytics App Gallery. Among the current list of 32 apps, you’ll find tools like Excellent Analytics, which lets you work with your Analytics data in an Excel spreadsheet, and the Analyticator for WordPress, which automatically implements Google Analytics across your entire WordPress site

But I got an anonymous tip from someone who was invited but decided not to when they read the terms and conditions:

License Grants – You grant to Google and its affiliates a worldwide, nonexclusive, and royalty-free license to host, link to, copy, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, test, distribute and otherwise use the Products and any content contained in, accessed by, or transmitted through the Products according to the publishing options selected by you.

My correspondent, taking the wording at face value, was concerned that if they listed their application in the gallery, Google would automatically get an unlimited and royalty free license to all their software and would be free to copy it, distribute it, etc. he further stated that no other galleries or marketplaces have this type of conditions in their terms.

His concern was that he didn’t think the companies listed there had actually read or understood these terms. A company like MailChimp who is part of the initiative had effectively just given Google all their software free to use and distribute to other people. I reached up to MailChimp who, somewhat surprisingly declined to comment in this case. This could mean one of two things, either they were scared of any reaction from Google to a comment they made or they simply didn’t understand the issues relating to the T&Cs – I’m unfortunately tending towards believing the latter was the case.

I reached out to Google who responded to the concerns by saying.. (and this will pour cold water on anyone who says that Google never listens) that in response to questioning, they’d changed the language of the T&C’s. The particular clause now reads:

You grant to Google and its affiliates a worldwide, nonexclusive, and royalty-free license to host, link to, copy, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, test, distribute and otherwise use Product listing content, such as the images and descriptions of Products in the Gallery, according to the publishing options selected by you.

So there you go. Two important lessons from all of this:

  1. Don’t dive in headfirst. As a developer if you’re considering playing with a platform provider, appraise ourself on the deal you’re doing – it might just be a bad one for you
  2. If you’re unhappy with a proposal – negotiate. You never know what will come of it

Well done Google (in this instance at least).

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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