GeoMedia GIS Blog

"A picture is only worth a thousand words. A map may be worth a thousand numbers. But a GIS is worth a thousand tables."

Changes in Google Earth Licensing Terms

Posted by jeffhobbs on September 13, 2007

Google recently changed the licensing agreement for Google Earth Free. In the past, their agreement has stated that the free version of Google Earth should NOT be installed on any business machine. Although many have ignored the restrictions in the past (after all, who really reads those things???), this was in fact a restriction. As a result, if you installed Google Earth on a machine at work (even if you were using it for personal use), you were in fact breaking the agreement.

With the latest release of Google Earth, Google has changed the agreement. From the new agreement:


Use of Software. For an individual end user, the Software is made available to and may be used by you only for your personal, non-commercial use according to these Terms of Service and the Software documentation. For a business entity user, the Software may be used by you and your employees for internal use according to these Terms of Service and the Software documentation (individual end users and business end users are collectively referred to as “You” herein).

Restrictions. You agree not to use the Software in connection with or in conjunction with a system in a vehicle that offers real-time route guidance or turn-by-turn maneuvers. You agree not to use the Software for any bulk printing or downloading of imagery, data or other content

Although I don’t have the old agreement to compare the wording, "business entity user" is definitely new. James Fee has an interesting entry about the change in agreement on his blog. There’s also an interesting post on the Google Earth Blog where I guess a person from the blog actually wrote to Google directly and received Google’s feedback on the change in the agreement.

Personally, I couldn’t be more excited. The world is already using Google Earth (as are many businesses). Additionally, more and more products are able to create KML. It’s really about time that anybody can (legally) view the KML with Google Earth at work. Now that it’s legal, I’m looking forward to trying out Justin Lokitz’s GeoServer/Google Earth tutorial in greater detail.


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