While other cloud storage vendors go out of their way to assure you privacy, Google Drive pretty much does quite the opposite, in language hidden in plain sight, right in the EULA. You should carefully read and consider this paragraph before storing anything private on your Google Drive.
“When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services …”
Granting themselves the right to “publicly display” my documents goes well beyond “the limited purpose of operating … and improving our Services, and to develop new ones”. I removed the word “promoting” from that sentence, which hardly sounds limited in purpose. To that I strongly object.
There will be an outcry about this, expect them to back off and limit the scope of this travesty. Just be careful what you upload until Google steps back from the dark side of this issue.
You might consider creating an encrypted/password protected, read/write disk image using Mac’s Disk Utility and copy that over to your cloud storage — which you can hide more sensitive documents in. Only you have the key/password, so make it strong and do not forget it! You’d have to open that image (but not download it) each time to read from or write into it and close it afterwards — but it’s contents will be hidden from server side search. Opening such an encrypted image can only be done from a Mac, not an iPhone nor iPad.
If you think about it, Google is in the business of selling targeted advertising against things it is able to sniff out about you through search. What better place to learn more about your interests and needs than snooping through your private documents? Gmail was a good start, now your digital filing cabinet could be next.
Don’t be surprised when a breath freshener advertisement pops up in Google Ads based on an OCR’d photo of a dentist’s bill, diagnosing halitosis — which you’re hiding from the world in your Google Drive. Just kidding, but you get my point!