Google Drive and Privacy
That means Google can't use your content for commercial purposes without your consent. However, the term of service also states:
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.
For content that is yours, Google can't re-use it for its own purposes, but it can use content you upload in order to serve you. This can include integrating services together (like reading your scanned pictures in order to OCR them), and it can include analyzing your files to target advertisements to you. Google already does this in Gmail.
Google doesn't currently serve ads in Google Docs (now called Google Drive), but it may, according to its license agreement, use data about the content you upload to target ads to you anywhere on the service.
Google also may give up your data in response to a legal demand, like a subpoena. If you want your cloud storage to be a little more out of touch, you might be interested in Wuala, which has no storage servers in the United States. Or, you might just want to keep your data off the Internet.
Google Drive and Security
Google Drive encrypts data between your computer and the Google servers. If you're using your Google Drive over the Web, the connection defaults to secure (HTTPS), and when you use the software that makes your Google Drive appear on your computer like a local hard drive, the data between your computer and Google is likewise encrypted. No casual hacker will be able to grab your files by monitoring or intercepting your Internet connection to Google. Your data also is stored under lock and key at Google itself, but it is not encrypted on the Google servers. You will have to encrypt your own files ahead of time. A Google rep explained why: encrypting files stored at Google would prevent you from previewing them on the Web, and it also would prevent services like Google Goggles and its OCR engine from accessing files on your behalf. (I presume it also would prevent Google's ad-serving algorithms from scanning your data to serve you more targeted messages, and this is how Google makes its money.)
If you install the Google Drive client app for your Windows or Mac PC, you can sync all your on-line Google Docs to your computer. You can be selective with your syncing—sync Google Docs, all of My Drive or individual folders, and items in Shared with me.
But for all the celebration, there is something missing: a Linux client. The Google Drive client is not yet available for Linux, and the old Google Docs FS does not work too well with Google Drive, so besides the Web interface, the best solution for getting Google Drive on Linux right now is using Grive, an unofficial, open-source, command-line Linux client for Google Drive. Grive has been put together by a third-party developer, and it looks quite nice. Thanks Google for making Drive an open platform.
The purpose of Grive Project is to provide an independent implementation of the Google Drive client. It uses the Google Document List API to talk to Google's servers. The code is written in standard C++.
As of version 0.2.0, Grive can do two-sided synchronization between Google Drive and the local directory. It can download and upload changed files. New directories in Google Drive and the local directory also can be downloaded/uploaded. It cannot yet do the following:
Wait for changes in the filesystem to occur and upload the files afterward. Sync is performed only when you run Grive.
Symbolic link support.
Sync all files/folders with multiple parents and download Google Documents.
Support for files >2GB.
Those things will be added in the future, possibly during the next release.
At the time of this writing, you easily can install Grive in Ubuntu 11.10 or later using the following commands:
system :~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8 system :~$ sudo apt-get update system :~$ sudo apt-get install grive
On other Linux distributions, the installation is a little involved, as a Grive package is not yet available. You can compile it from source.
Sayyed Mehdi Poustchi Amin is currently a PhD research student in computer science at SIU. His research is focused on developing honeypot decoys for analysis of Internet attacks. His professional certifications include CCNA, MCTS, MCITP and MCSE.
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