Monday, October 25, 2004

Google's Desktop Search; use with caution

Google recently released a Desktop Search application that allows you to easily find files on your PC.  It's a great concept, one that Microsoft and Apple are both working on for their upcoming operating system releases over the next two or three years.  I love the fact that I can easily find text, documents, e-mails and more on my PC very easily with the Google Desktop Search, but I would never use it on a shared PC.  In it's current state, the Desktop Search will potentially show information from any other user of that same computer.  While the application is intended to be used on a single user machine, a majority of households have shared computers.  I'm not suggesting that you boycott the new tool; it's excellent at what it does and I do recommend using it.  However, you need to understand and accept the privacy concerns and issues if you intend to install and use it.

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At 10/25/2004 10:11 AM, Blogger James Kendrick said...

This issue even pertains to single user computers.

This is beginning to get a lot of air play as people always have a hot button where privacy is concerned. Google Desktop should never be used on multi-user computers as it caches EVERYTHING. So stuff lingers long after you may have deleted it.

I've been playing around with it and you may not want to use it even on a single user computer. As a test I Googled the key word "SEX" on my laptop and every single piece of dirty spam that my Outlook junk filter has properly caught and deleted is cached along with a screen shot of the spam complete with the pictures. This gives one pause for thought even on single user machines.

I'm going to leave it on for now as it is very useful for searching for obscure emails and documents but everyone just needs to be aware that EVERYTHING you do on your PC is cached by Google Desktop. For that reason alone I would NEVER install this on a work computer in the office.


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