InformationWeek published an interesting review of Google’s desktop search tool:
By using Search Across Computers, employees are transmitting confidential company documents outside existing security systems. The means of transmission and storage (for the limited time documents are on its servers) aren’t understood, because Google hasn’t explained them. Additionally, the Google Desktop software provides no mechanism for indicating when data is uploaded to a server, when it’s accessed by your second computer and when it’s deleted from Google’s servers. We just don’t know.
If Google is going to play in the software market, it needs to take responsibility for communicating what its software does and does not do, in conjunction with the software release. It needs to be more respectful of the burden on security/IT professionals and enable features that help them protect their data. We all know that Google will do no evil, but they need to help make sure that they don’t enable it either.
Ouch. One would think they might be headed more in the direction of greater privacy, not less, given a brewing backlash from consumers and the gov’t. In fact, I’ve been working diligently with some folks to scan and uncover Google code on enterprise systems in order to cleanly remove it from afar. It surprises me how many admins are starting to categorize the Googley software in the same context as Kazaa, Gator, and other infamous and rather misleading “helper” applications. As the value of privacy goes up will the value of Google, which seems to rely on others’ openness, go down?