The new Google Terms of Service for the free Maps API also includes some very disturbing language about what rights you as a developer/user grant to Google:
11. Licenses from You to Google.
11.1 Content License.
(a) You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Your Content. By submitting, posting or displaying Your Content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute Your Content. This license is for the purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Service.
(b) You give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to access, reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute business listings data contained in Maps API Implementations. For example, if you create a store locator application, Google may use the business listings information from the store locator to improve the Google Services such as Google Maps and local search.
(c) You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make Your Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
(d) You understand and agree that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Service to our users, may do the following:
(i) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and
(ii) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media.
Several members of the develpment community using the free API are up in arms over this. It hardly looks like a suitable platform for publishing private data privately.
One must remember that online giants such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are businesses. And while they give away "free" services as part of their marketing plan, ultimately it is to make their business models profitable. Particularly with all the "free" stuff made available in the mapping area, I often am reminded of the beads and blankets given away by the Hudsons Bay Company to Native American tribes. That arrangement did not work out so well for the parties receiving the gifts.