It appears Google did slip in one more little thing with the Google Earth 4.2 (beta) which I hadn’t noticed yet. The new release notes were just posted, and there is a line “Expanded terms of service for Free and Plus products“. That’s right, Google has finally fixed a problem a lot of people have been complaining about: using the free Google Earth in a business office setting (previously not allowed by the license). Sure enough, when you first go to download Google Earth 4.2, you’re presented with new license terms. I naturally did not read it in my rush to download the new thing two weeks ago, but I should have. Because look at this first paragraph:
1. USE OF SOFTWARE; RESTRICTIONS
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).
This is great news! At least,
if I’m reading these terms correctly – it means you can, on a limited basis, install and use the free or Plus versions of Google Earth in a business setting. I’m no lawyer, so consult your company legal advisor before loading Google Earth at your office. Anyone want to confirm my interpretation?
Update: – I asked Google if my interpretation was right that Google Earth Free/Plus can be used in a business environment, and the answer came back: “Yes“. Stefan Geens also provides his interpretation: “I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that Google Earth Free finally becomes a proper universal browser of georeferenced data. You no longer need Pro to do geoweb surfing at work, or to search and view KML files, even for doing business-related research or intelligence gathering, much as you would use an ordinary web browser to gather information from the ordinary web. Nevertheless, I suspect this new license does preclude businesses from using the Free application to produce commercial geospatial products. That would result in an “external” application of Google Earth.”