May 26, 2006

Googly bundles with Dell despite privacy fears

Link: Googly bundles with Dell despite privacy fears

Filed under: Google, Desktop search, Companies, Software, Hardware by Brian Turner


Google and Dell have secured a deal, to have bundled Google software bundled on new Dell PC’s.

The deal especially focuses on the installation of Google Desktop Search on Dell PCs, with associated software, and the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer already sintalled.

The deal also involves a co-branded homepage for both companies on the PC’s.

While the deal is seen as an attempt by Google to more directly challenge Microsoft, it also continues to underline privacy concerns.

Google is already accused of not taking user privacy seriously enough, with Google purposefully harvesting and analysing personal data for use between it’s different product areas.

While other big ISP’s - such as Yahoo! and Microsoft - have also been accused of not taking privacy seriously enough, the new software distribution deal with Dell can only increase those concerns so far as Google is concerned.

Additionally, desktop software in general has already been flagged as a security risk, due to the ease in which hackers could employ desktop search to more easily find personal information, such as passwords and banking information.

While it’s fair to say that privacy and security concerns go beyond Google, it remains an issue of acute concern that big internet ISP’s are still aggressively pushing for collecting user-data, without any corresponding checks to protect user privacy being applied, on either side of the Atlantic.

February 10, 2006

Users warned on Google privacy

Link: Users warned on Google privacy

Filed under: Internet, Microsoft, Search Engines, Google, Yahoo!, Desktop search, Legal by Brian Turner


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has warned that Google latest software release may be a serious threat to user privacy.

Google launched Google Desktop Search 3.0 this week, with an increased number of user features, such as data sharing.

While groups such as Gartner warned business against using Google Desktop when originally released, the US rights advocacy group the EFF is especially critical of the new features.

Privacy concerns are already an acute issue, and Search Engine Watch has already listed criticisms about the collection and use of data, not simply by Google, but also other major internet companies such as Yahoo! and Microsoft.

While there have already been privacy complaints about other Google services, these were recently intensified after it was revealed that the US government had sought data from all major search engines last year.

ISP’s such as Google can rightly point out that the more they know about users, the better they can target services to them.

However, the converse may also be true that the collection and data-mining of user behaviour has not seen progress in privacy protections, especially in line with the application of new technologies that make data sharing easier.

Google have assured users of their new Desktop Search service that data will only be stored on their servers for 30 days.

However, the issue of privacy protection online is becoming more and more of an issue. We’re likely to see a lot more on this story yet.

August 23, 2005

Google Desktop search evolves

Link: Google Desktop search evolves

Filed under: Desktop search by brian_turner


Google is updating its desktop search software with the facility to suggest web links, personal documents, blog entries and images relevant to the user’s current activity on their computer. These can be instantly displayed in an on-screen panel.

The updated software includes applications that expand the abilities of the panel. It can automatically subscribe to RSS feeds on weblogs and news sites so a user receives regular updates and can monitor different e-mail accounts and display incoming messages as they appear. Users can create a list of most-used documents and files so they can open them as soon as they are needed.

Some of the functions, including the ability to present information about local documents as a user types, are already available in programs such as Blinkx. Yahoo’s desktop search system and Apple’s Spotlight also display real time results.

Other functions, such as the ability to access frequently used files and newly arrived e-mail messages, places Google into more direct competition with Microsoft, as the search engine directly replaces some of the features of the Windows operating system.

Google and other companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Ask Jeeves, have been promoting desktop and toolbar search software for the past year, as they compete for market share. According to audience monitoring company, ComScore Media Metrix, Yahoo’s toolbar was used to carry out the most US searches in July 2005, while the most browser searches were carried out via Google.

The new test version of Google desktop is available to download and works with Windows XP and 2000.

January 19, 2005

Google Desktop Search used in Peer to Peer file-swapping application

Link: Google Desktop Search used in Peer to Peer file-swapping application

Filed under: Google, Desktop search, Legal by brian_turner

In a move that raises a range of uncomfortable legal issues for Google, its Desktop Search tool has been used in the development of an application for large-scale file-swapping.

DNKA remote desktop search tool acts as a webserver that utilises Google Desktop Search to allow other people to remotely search and download files from a users computer.

Although the development company tries to indicate postive uses for the application, the notion of Google software being used to create peer-to-peer networks can only be an acute concern for the company, especially in the face of high-profile legal actions by music and film corporations, not least the RIAA and BPI.

December 14, 2004

Gartner warns against Google Desktop

Link: Gartner warns against Google Desktop

Filed under: Security, Google, Desktop search by brian_turner

Research firm Gartner has issued a public warning that businesses should avoid allowing the Google Desktop search to be installed on business machines, until more can be ascertained about the security and privacy issues involved in using it. Gartner instead suggest waiting for an Enterprise release.

According to CNet in Gartner: Google desktop search not enterprise-ready

Responding to Gartner’s comments, Dave Girouard, Google’s general manager of enterprise products, said that the tool was never intended to be an enterprise-ready application in its current incarnation and that the company is working on a more robust version for large-scale deployments.

Overall, a sensible precaution worth taking note of.

November 21, 2004

Google offers developer keys

Link: Google offers developer keys

Filed under: Google, Desktop search by brian_turner

The Google Desktop Search came out in a blaze of glory - and now it seems that a number of other search engines are trying to catch up with their own Desktop search tools.

However, Google has struck a major strike against the competition, by allowing developers to code their own plug-ins and applications to run with the software: the Google Deskbar Plug-in Development Kit

By empowering webmasters for web-development of the desktop search software, Google has certainly reached out in a market where other search engines would be forced to respond, or keep clear ownership of their own intellectual property.

However, with security issues, from spyware, phishing, and browser hijacks, all being used in accelated numbers against surfers, it’ll be interesting to see how well Google can maintain it’s clean image, when the power of the desktop search could easily be redirected for more underground aims and purposes.

Further discussion: Google developer API

October 14, 2004

Google Desktop

Link: Google Desktop

Filed under: Google, Desktop search by brian_turner

Google desktop application released

The net giant has released a preliminary version of a desktop program that will search computer hard drives, as well as the web.

I think I should really have named this entry: Google release Spyware. Because that’s what they’re doing.

They haven’t released this application in some magnaminous show of comraderie with the internet community - the single purpose of this application from Google’s point of view is to effectively spy on millions of computer users, and track their habits as intimately as possible.

Of course, Google’s main interest isn’t tracking individuals - it’s simply about gathering huge swathes of marketing data from users applying their software.

Essentially, it’s sugar-coated spyware.

However, Google are - currently - a well-respected company. So no doubt people will rush sheep-like to provide free large-scale marketing information to a billion-dollar corporation.

Meanwhile, the same people - having legitimately installed spyware on their machines via free downloads and freeware - will no doubt be reaching for Adware and Spybot, to try and protect their privacy from those less reputable companies - you know, those ones who use spyware to track users…