Boston Google Transit agreement is more balanced
In our ongoing effort to analyze why WMATA still is not part of Google Transit, we've obtained a number of other cities' Google agreements through FOIA requests. The latest to come through is Boston's MBTA (PDF).
MBTA trip planned using Google Transit.
Compared to the standard Google agreement, Boston's appears more balanced. Like the others, the agreement does not contemplate a fee for either providing the data, as Metro has desired, or for providing the service.
The agreement is much simpler to read, cutting out a lot of legal boilerplate to get to the essence of the agreement: MBTA will provide the data, and Google has permission to use it.
An imprortant improvement in the agreement is the option for either Google or the transit agency to end the agreement at the end of each year by providing notice. The standard Google agreement only allows Google to leave by providing notice. As part of their negotiations, Metro should request the same.
The most interesting part of the Boston agreement is a requirement that Google indemnify and defend MBTA against suit or actions, but it's only in the limited context of Google breaching it's warranties. As far as I could tell, the only thing Google was willing to warrant was that they were legally able to enter the agreement, so that indemnification is of limited use, and I don't believe Metro should seek or require such a change. It is fair for Google to provide this indemnification, but it shouldn't be a show-stopper because it's of limited value.
The MBTA did also agree to indemnify Google against any claims arising from breaching their warranties and also from "Google's or any Distribution Party's authorized use" of the Google Transit data. This is part of Google's standard agreement, and many agencies accepted that, though Chicago and New York negotiated it away. On the other hand, Chicago and New York's agreements don't include the right to terminate within one year or any indemnification against misrepresentations by Google either.
I am still waiting for San Francisco MTA's agreement, though I have heard nothing in months. You can see the other Google Transit agreements and my analysis for Chicago CTA, New York MTA, and the generic Google agreement.
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