Google's Terms of Service

Happy Easter!

I have a completely unrelated question though :rolleyes:
Apparently, Google’s Terms of Service states:

“2.3 You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google, or (b) you are a person barred from receiving the Services under the laws of the United States or other countries including the country in which you are resident or from which you use the Services.”

In order to use any of their services -including their search engine, I must be at least 18 (in the USA at least). Well, I’m not 18. So, does that mean I’d be sinning every time I use Google Search, Google Voice, their smartphone operating system (Android), Gmail, etc.?

I really use Google a lot, but I don’t want to be sinning.
I know that Court systems won’t prosecute you over it, and Google probably doesn’t care, but wouldn’t God?

Source: (Google’s universal terms of service)

Happy Easter young Catholic. While I applaud your efforts to live a Holy Life, Just take care that you are not so heavenly minded that your no earthly good. Wanna do something more fun to know you are in the will of God, without worrying about weather Google is going to send you to hell? Volunteer at your Parish. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Plenty of things you can do. True religion is this, that we visit the widows and orphans in there distress. Your thinking like a hyper Calvinist. God loves you. Learn to live in this love. Love Him above all, and your neighbor as yourself. In so doing you fulfill the whole law. Unpack your backs my young Catholic. I am gonna show you how to avoid going on the Guilt Trip. Again Happy Easter. He Is Risen, and We have the victory. Celebrate this victory. Oh and pray the rosary and love Mary. She can reallly teach you about compassion and Mercy. :thumbsup:

Well, we’re allowed to protest peacefully unjust laws, right?


Yes, and unwarrented Guilt trips also! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks so much for the advice, benedict.

So, I can peacefully proceed to use Google’s services? Without fear of mortal sin?

I get what you’re saying about being too strict with the rules. But I don’t get how God is okay with me breaking a law. This is similar to someone’s signature on this forum, but isn’t breaking a law sinful even if everyone thinks it’s okay? I mean, this law doesn’t seem like it’s evil, so shouldn’t we follow it?

Yes, I am arguing against myself. I do hope it’s okay. I just don’t get why it’s not sinful.

I have never read the Google Terms of Service, so I’m just operating under invincible ignorance, wherein no sin is possible.

It’s not invincible ignorance if you purposely don’t read it. Anyways, you know now.

But, I mean, am I subject to follow these rules?

This has been noticed in the media; there are a couple articles about it.

Google: No kids allowed

Under 18? Using Google? You May Be A Criminal!

A Google spokesperson said,

We’re not in a position to verify the age or legal status of any user, given the tremendous number of users accessing Google services. That said, when we become aware of a user who is violating our Terms of Service, including not being of proper age to accept the Terms of Service, we take appropriate action, which could include the termination of the user’s Google Account.

Strange, huh?

I’m sure it gives them some legal advantage. Or tax break. :wink:

I’m confused still.

Is it sinful or not? Why or why not?


Anyone have a good answer for this one?

Maybe I can understand the lower age limit, given what is available on the Internet, often through a simple Google search.

Still, it never occurred to me that a 17 year old–or a 13 year old, or a 6 year old–doing a simple Google search, was violating the terms of service. But apparently they are. Personally, I see no sin here. What would it be? Theft of services? Google doesn’t charge searchers, it charges advertisers.

I think perhaps there is a legal defense strategy here. Should a parent decide to sue Google for providing access to improper material, they have a ready made defense that the user was in violation of the terms of service.

I also suspect that if all under age-18 users did not use Google services, the value of those services to advertisers might decline.

I don’t think you are sinning by disobeying the rules of service.

Another thing to remember is that Google has saved every search that you have ever searched for.

I just wanted to add one more thing. Violating the Google terms of service is not the same as breaking the law. It might be violating a civil contract, but that is not the same thing as breaking a civil law or a criminal law.

Doesn’t Google have a user’s blog somewhere where this question can be posted? I simply can’t imagine that Google would want every elementary and high school in the world to not use Google search. Schools can always install some other search engine.

All the legalese translates to “CYA”.
They know kids start googling as soon as they’re big enough to reach the keyboard but when a 13 yr-old goes searching for porn they can say, “Oh, dear, he’s violating out TOS!”

I’d like to know what happens if you set up a Gmail account and give a birthday under 18 but then check “I Agree” to the TOS?

I’d say that if you are worried enough about it to come to CAF and ask, then just don’t do it. Then you don’t have to worry about whether it is a sin or not.

Seriously, most young people have more to worry about with violating copyright laws. I know people who use torrents to download hundreds of movies and books without paying for them. It’s really theft.


There’s also this, from the CNET article linked above:

“Google is currently running a Doodle 4 Google contest, in which K-12 students take a shot at designing a Google company logo. The winner will receive $10,000 and their art will appear on Google’s home page for a day.” Of course, the winner would be in violation of the TOS in trying to view his or her own art on Google.

I set my Gmail to my real age. It went through. Apparently, Google contradicts its own TOS by allowing people who are at least 13 to join. Well… Not really, as their TOS states they can change their rules for each service. I read this on Google’s Universal Terms of Service, and another website

Edit: proper source posted

Edit 2: I just remembered that my mobile phone carrier set the default search engine to Google and am unable to change to Bing (I have a Windows Phone 7). So now my family is paying for a data plan that I can’t use? (I can only use Bing when I press the search button on the homepage or through my voice. Internet Explorer uses Google.)

Good LORD! How scrupulous can anyone possibly get?

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