Wherefore Art Thou, Google Apps For Edu Terms of Service?

2 min read

Trying to find Google's Apps for Education Terms of Service page is akin to spending a weekend unicorn hunting while quaffing cocktails from the Holy Grail.

And please, if I have missed an obvious place where Google's current Terms of Service for Apps for Edu are linked, please tell me. I have spent a foolishy long amount of time trying to nail this down, and I would love to know that I had missed something obvious. The shadow of a PEBKAC looms long, and could easily extend into this examination.

Our quest for current Google Apps for Edu Terms of Service leads from Google's Trust page, to the signup page where a district or school would get Apps for Edu, to the Product list, to the product overview page, to the top-level Google for Education page, to Google search (which leads to outdated terms).

It seems like the most reliable way to see the Terms of Service for Google Apps for Edu is to ask people who are already running Google Apps. It really shouldn't be this complicated.

Google could improve this easily by taking the following basic steps:

  • Add a link to the correct Terms of Service from their Trust page;
  • Add a link to the correct Terms of Service from all product description pages;
  • Add a link to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service from the signup page for Google Apps;
  • Fix the broken link on their Trust page;
  • Add "Updated" dates to the current terms of service;
  • Add text to outdated policies that are no longer active, and link to current policies.

Future posts will address some of the ways that Google's terms allow student data to leak out and be used outside the Apps for Edu terms of service. However, that is a separate issue from basic transparency. For a company founded on making data on the web more discoverable, the opacity of Google's basic terms should be an easy problem for Google to fix.

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