YouthMaster

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
mattfarley
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Postby mattfarley » Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:00 am

There has been much debate in this thread concerning the legality of YouthMaster using Google Map's API (due to the fact that YouthMaster requires users to login).

Google has finally clarified / updated their Terms of Service to explicitly state that implementations such as YouthMaster's are completely legal and do comply with their ToS.

See: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/terms.html (section 9)
9. License Requirements. Google's licenses above are subject to your adherence to the following requirements:

9.1 Free, Public Accessibility to Your Maps API Implementation. Your Maps API Implementation must be generally accessible to users without charge. You may require users to log in to your Maps API Implementation if you do not require users to pay a fee.
and from: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/faq.html
Can I use the Google Maps APIs on a site that is password protected? Yes, you can, though you should consult the Terms of Service before using the Google Maps APIs on a password protected website. If consumers can easily sign up for a password without charge or if the purpose of the password protected map is to enhance the publicly available map (i.e. administration), then your site is likely within the Terms of Service. If this is not the case, you will need to use Google Maps API Premier.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:04 am

mfarley wrote:There has been much debate in this thread concerning the legality of YouthMaster using Google Map's API (due to the fact that YouthMaster requires users to login).

Google has finally clarified / updated their Terms of Service to explicitly state that implementations such as YouthMaster's are completely legal and do comply with their ToS.

See: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/terms.html (section 9)
and from: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/faq.html


Unfortunately, Googles's new terms contine to be ambiguous. They allow login (actually, that language from the FAQ is not new.) But according to the title of that section, the login is supposed to be for "Free, Public Accessibility to Your Maps API Implementation." And it still states, "Your Maps API Implementation must be generally accessible to users without charge."

Your site, of course, does not allow the general public to log into these youth web sites. Nor, I believe, do you allow just anyone to set up an account. Can a local Baha'i congregation, biker gang, gay social club, etc, set up free accounts and use your service?

mattfarley
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Postby mattfarley » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:30 am

boomerbubba wrote:Your site, of course, does not allow the general public to log into these youth web sites. Nor, I believe, do you allow just anyone to set up an account. Can a local Baha'i congregation, biker gang, gay social club, etc, set up free accounts and use your service?


I have yet to turn anyone away and have no plans to do so. If other organizations (gay or not) feel like they can benefit from YouthMaster's features, they're welcome to join.

If you read Google's latest blog post on the new ToS (http://googlegeodevelopers.blogspot.com/2008/11/posted-by-mickey-kataria-product.html) it looks like they're trying to make it more clear to people like us that things like YouthMaster are "okay" and are giving us a green light.

That said, we know how lawyers work. They can twist anything to fit their purposes and arguments. I'm sure there are lawyers out there who can make great arguments both for and against YouthMaster's usage of the Maps API.

So I can either live in fear of such lawyers, or trust in Google and my interpretation of their ToS. For me, the obvious choice is the latter. And as stated before, wards can turn on/off the mapping feature.

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Postby RossEvans » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:42 am

mfarley wrote:IIf you read Google's latest blog post on the new ToS (http://googlegeodevelopers.blogspot.com/2008/11/posted-by-mickey-kataria-product.html) it looks like they're trying to make it more clear to people like us that things like YouthMaster are "okay" and are giving us a green light..


I have posted a request for clarification on the Google Maps API Group posting announcing it, which solicited such questions. Hopefully, Google will clarify things. Their existing language does not.

Meanwhile, I assume you will be modifying your site to comply with the new requirement that you post a link to Google's Terms of Use, along with a requirement that your own users agree to those terms.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:17 am

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.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:02 pm

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.


Well, it certainly doesn't take much of a leap of logic that if you were to tag a location with "Brown, John and Sara" that it could wind up in the public eye. There's no mention of privacy in any of that.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:14 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Well, it certainly doesn't take much of a leap of logic that if you were to tag a location with "Brown, John and Sara" that it could wind up in the public eye. There's no mention of privacy in any of that.


The basic thing is that the free Google Maps API is -- or at least was -- not supposed to be used for private web sites in the first place, only for public web sites. In section 11, Google now goes further and states that the implementer has granted Google a license to take that publicly published content and reproduce it elsewhere..

The only significant area where these new terms are more permissive, as far as I can see, is that developers now can build free desktop applications using this API. It used to be restricted to use in web sites only. However, the new lanugage there is somewhat confusing. That relaxed provision is not really relevant to the web site described in this thread, anyway.

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Postby RossEvans » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:40 am

I notice that in response to questions from its Maps API developer community, Google last week revised its legal terms again. See this official Google blog post.

After reading that and the new terms of service, I for one am satisfied that login-protected sites such as YouthMaster comply with Google's new terms. In addition, Google removed the language (which I quoted above) that had offended many developers by claiming a right to republish their content for promotional purposes.

As an aside, I also am encouraged that Google's terms now allow use of the API in free desktop applications, not just web sites. I think that opens up possibilities for incorporating mapping functionality into local apps while ensuring the privacy of content such as name-address data for LDS units' members.

mattfarley
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Postby mattfarley » Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:37 pm

Excellent news, thanks for the update boomerbubba!

Hopefully other corporations will follow Google's example.

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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:18 pm

Very interesting debate. I wonder if there's an Open Source maps service that can be used without all this headaches.
La vita è una lezione interminabile di umiltà (Anonimo).
Life is a endless lesson of humility (Anonimous).


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