Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

EFF Warns Not to Use Google Desktop 562

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the big-brother-is-listening dept.
neelm writes "The EFF is asking users not to use the new version of Google Desktop that has a 'search across computers' option. The option will store copies of documents on your hard drive on Google servers, where the government or anyone who wants to may subpoena (i.e. no search warrants) the information. Google says it is not yet scanning the files for advertising, but it hasn't ruled out the possibility."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EFF Warns Not to Use Google Desktop

Comments Filter:
  • EFF, Shmeff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by powerpuffgirls (758362) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:23PM (#14684490)
    If I had to count on one company to stand up and fight for personal privacy [slashdot.org], human rights and not bow down to political pressures, it would have to be teh Google.

    Meanwhile, Chinese users please click here [imoou.com].
    • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mrs. Grundy (680212) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:36PM (#14684585) Homepage
      I applaud the resistance Google's is showing towards the government's recent requests for user data, but as their decision in China demonstrates, there is not always an evil and not-evil choice. For a publicly-held company there are always conflicting interests. If it comes to a choice between giving up your information and breaking the law google doesn't have much choice.
      • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 10, 2006 @01:10AM (#14685386)
        " I applaud the resistance Google's is showing towards the government's recent requests for user data"

        Red herring.

        This issue is a completely nonsense issue. Even if Google "wins" it's a mock trial. The government can already get whatever data it wants from Google using the Patriot Act and force them to keep completely mum about it. Who knows where that data goes aftwerwards. Everyone keeps saying "trust me" then you find out you were lied to afterwards... over and over again.

        I have yet to hear a persuasive argument that the US government doesn't already have complete access. This is just an attempt at post-NSA leak damage control. The "brilliant" idea is to lure terrrorist email bombers everywhere to annouce their plans using gmail.

              - the work of a pure rocket scientist who's quick thinking saved "liberty" tower

        • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:4, Insightful)

          by occidentaltourist (948527) on Friday February 10, 2006 @03:55AM (#14685856)
          "I have yet to hear a persuasive argument that the US government doesn't already have complete access."

          I have yet to hear a persuasive argument that the Illuminati don't really control the whole shebang, including our very thoughts.

          My point: It's pretty much impossible to prove some negatives.

          Nevertheless, I agree somewhat with the thrust of your (over)statement, "Everyone keeps saying "trust me" then you find out you were lied to afterwards... over and over again."

          There's a balance point to be found somewhere between naïve and paranoid.
          • by Itchy Rich (818896) on Friday February 10, 2006 @07:53AM (#14686393)

            There's a balance point to be found somewhere between naïve and paranoid.

            And we shall call it "naïvanoid".

    • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:54PM (#14684723)
      If I had to count on one company to stand up and fight for personal privacy, human rights and not bow down to political pressures, it would have to be teh Google.

      But what happens when they lose their fight? All that data they are collecting for their 'marketing' gets turned over without any personal subpoena, giving any government agency the ability to subpoena one company and collect the personal data of almost everyone in the country.

      Sad day when MS looks like the good guys, they don't store information from their desktop search, or use it for marketing, so even if they get a subpoena, all they can provide is generalized search data from MSN Search.

      BTW did you ever stop to think the reason Google didn't want to turn over the information to the Government regarding searches was maybe not to protect their users, but to protect themselves? Could it be so far fetched that they don't want to disclose the information they are collecting from users.

      Don't put faith in any company to champion your rights, and don't let them have access to your information even if you do trust them. I have people I work with I don't let know what documents are on my desktop and I like and trust these people, why on earth would I let Google collect this information?

      Can you really trust a company, made up on individuals, that all it would take is one person getting $20 bucks and hour to take the information the company has collected and dump it into public domain?

      Let me state this a little more clearly...

      GOOGLE SHOULD NOT BE COLLECTING DETAILED DATA FROM YOUR COMPUTER, NOR DETAILED DATA FROM YOUR SEARCHES THAT LINK BACK TO WHO YOU ARE. With the government inquires on this aside, collecting this information for any reason is wrong, and especially when they are admitting that it is for future marketing.

      People are scared about Bill Gates running the world, yet Google has more specific data on every individual that uses their Desktop and Online Search engines.
      • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SimGuy (611829) <kevin.simguy@net> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @11:32PM (#14684946) Homepage Journal
        The thing about Google is they make no attempt to hide the fact they are collecting a tremendous amount of data about people and people let them. If you don't want your information stored by Google, you don't opt into any of Google's services. There is nothing compelling you to use a Gmail account, the Google search history is opt-in, the Google Talk logging is opt-in, and the Google Desktop features don't work unless you install them on your computer. If you're worried about what Google will do with your data, it ought to be your responsbility not to hand it over to them.
        • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Friday February 10, 2006 @01:06AM (#14685373)
          If you're worried about what Google will do with your data, it ought to be your responsbility not to hand it over to them.

          I agree, however the average joe blow that is buying a new dell that has Google desktop installed when it arrives, don't get the option to choose, nor are very many people informed about the data collection they perform.

          This is kind of like the tiny fine print on a contract. Also there isn't an 'I Agree' button on the Google Search website, people think they are just looking up information.

          We definately have the right and responsibility to not use a service if we don't agree with it, but we also owe it to others to alert them to facts about the service when the company offering the service fails to MAKE IT CLEAR.

          Google is legally borderlining on misuse, non-disclosure and many other avenues that could eventually put them in the hot seat with a lot of people. It could also be the basis that the government uses to rip Google apart and get the information they requested.

          Everyone on /. is so busy watching companies like Sun, Microsoft, Apple, etc, and yet 'information' is the gold of the 21st century and we don't seem to have the same eye to the companies mining it right out from underneath us.
          • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:5, Insightful)

            by teslar (706653) on Friday February 10, 2006 @08:43AM (#14686613)
            Everyone on /. is so busy watching companies like Sun, Microsoft, Apple, etc, and yet 'information' is the gold of the 21st century and we don't seem to have the same eye to the companies mining it right out from underneath us.

            I [slashdot.org] can [slashdot.org] assure [slashdot.org] you, everyone [slashdot.org] on [slashdot.org] /. [slashdot.org] is [slashdot.org] also [slashdot.org] watching [slashdot.org] google [slashdot.org].
        • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Tim C (15259) on Friday February 10, 2006 @03:47AM (#14685829)
          the Google search history is opt-in

          Assuming you mean the fact that they keep a history of what terms you search for on google.com, then can you please point out where I go to opt out? I've had a look in the preferences, and there's nothing there for it.

          Also, defaulting to on but allowing you to opt out is not the same as opt-in.
        • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:4, Informative)

          by mu22le (766735) on Friday February 10, 2006 @04:15AM (#14685907) Homepage Journal
          If you do not wish google to track you just install the Customizegoogle extension in firefox and selet anonimyze me in the privacy tab.

          It's not that hard!
      • If you have a gmail account, Google already knows who your friends and family are. That's okay if you can trust the company, and the political system.

        Now Google seems to be becoming one of those amoral companies. The new Google Desktop takes advantage of people who don't understand what is happening. Is Google going from "Do no harm" to "Anything if it makes money"?

        Unfortunately, the U.S. government believes that it can perform surveillance anywhere and can keep the reasons secret. The U.S. government often forces companies not to disclose that they have given information to the government. So, maybe no company can be trusted.

        --
        Before, Saddam got Iraq oil profits & paid part to kill Iraqis. Now a few Americans share Iraq oil profits, & you pay to kill Iraqis. Improvement?
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Taking advantage of people? How? The feature is off by default, and next to the checkbox to turn it on, it explains that if you turn the feature on, the data is stored on Google's servers. There is also some sort of Learn More link. If they are trying to take advantage of people, they aren't doing a very good job...
          • Most people, I think, won't have a clear understanding. They don't know what a server does. They won't understand that the U.S. government can secretly demand the information. They won't realize the importance of the lost of privacy, or the reason why Google is offering to do something for them.

            When you work with computers every day, it is extremely easy to overestimate the level of comprehension of the average person.
        • Now Google seems to be becoming one of those amoral companies. The new Google Desktop takes advantage of people who don't understand what is happening. Is Google going from "Do no harm" to "Anything if it makes money"?

          A corporation with morals is like a coathanger with a conscience.

          Corporations have one purpose: making money for the people in charge.

          However, they are also useful contraptions that, overall, tend to increase everbody's standard of living. As long as we construct secure legal cages to limit
      • Re:EFF, Shmeff (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zaloc (950239)
        I agree with what you are saying. It also seems that most people foolishly think that they can surf the net from home and type in anything that they want, or email anything they want and because they are in their "safe" home; inside an enclosed room. Psychologically it feels okay to share your thoughts through the computer and no one will know it's you! If that were only the case. Of course you also have the same thing happen to employees at many companies when they are hooked to company networks. Sendin
    • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@NOSpAM.uberm00.net> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @11:36PM (#14684969) Homepage Journal
      San Francisco - Google today announced a new "feature" of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers, to enable searching from any one of the user's computers. EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password.


      The EFF isn't advising people to avoid Google Desktop, just not to enable the feature, which IMHO makes complete sense. Google can't prevent the files from being taken if they're subpoenaed and a court orders them to make them available, now can they? It's not up to Google and the EFF knows this. They're not saying anything against Google here, just that people should be careful who they let have access to their files.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:24PM (#14684501)
    Hey now, people, don't you know Google is GOOD, not EVIL?
  • store copies? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pintomp3 (882811) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:24PM (#14684502)
    I thought it stored an index. I know this is bad enough, but if it was actual copies would be at least get a free back up out of it.
    • Re:store copies? (Score:2, Informative)

      by skoaldipper (752281)
      From EFF (and the article): If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers..."

      From Google site [google.com]: In order to share your indexed files between your computers, we first copy this content to Google Desktop servers located at Google. This is necessary, for example, if one of your computers is turned off or otherwise offline when new or updated items are indexed o

    • Re:store copies? (Score:5, Informative)

      by NewKimAll (923422) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:53PM (#14684716)
      The actual facts are the following:

      Search Across Computers also has the following preferences, found on the Desktop Preferences page:

      * Name this computer: This name will be displayed on remote computers that are part of the same Google account group.
      * My other computers can search this computer's:
      o Documents and web history
      o Documents only
      o Web history only
      * Clear my files from Google: In order to share your indexed files between your computers, we first copy this content to Google Desktop servers located at Google. This is necessary, for example, if one of your computers is turned off or otherwise offline when new or updated items are indexed on another of your machines. We store this data temporarily on Google Desktop servers and automatically delete older flies, and your data is never accessible by anyone doing a Google search. You can learn more by reading the Google Desktop privacy policy.

      While your data is automatically deleted from our servers, you can use the Clear my Files from Google button to manually remove all your files from Google Desktop servers. Note that if these files haven't yet been copied to your other computers, clicking this button will prevent you from finding them when you search from your other computers. The files will, of course, still be searchable from their computer of origin.


      So it appears that your data will be on a Google Server temporarily. Also, is it really feasible that Google would even want to maintain a SAN Array capable of storing EVERY document for EVERY user of this thing? Why would they want to waste their money collecting everybody's garbage?
      --
      Want to share a file across the network between your computers? Just use FTP or PCAnywhere. I wish that VNC software would allow file transfers (hint, hint)
      • Re:store copies? (Score:3, Insightful)

        Also, is it really feasible that Google would even want to maintain a SAN Array capable of storing EVERY document for EVERY user of this thing?

        If they could "monitize" your ass for 50 cents worth of disk space, why not? It would only take one AdSense clickthrough to make a profit of the endeavor.
      • by MKalus (72765)
        Also, is it really feasible that Google would even want to maintain a SAN Array capable of storing EVERY document for EVERY user of this thing?


        One Sentence:

        Largest Pr0n collection EVAR!!!!11111
  • file names (Score:3, Funny)

    by yincrash (854885) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:25PM (#14684508)
    are said 'files' able to be traced to certain people?
  • by Smarty2120 (776415) * on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:25PM (#14684510)
    I guess if google already stored and indexed all your files then "Comrade! Where are your papers?" won't be necessary.
    Double-plus good!
  • Copernic (Score:5, Informative)

    by CMiYC (6473) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:26PM (#14684514) Homepage
    I use Copernic [copernic.com] instead of Google Desktop. I used GDS until I got a new laptop for work. Then I tried Copernic. I'm not sure if it is any better than GDS. The one aspect of Copernic I really appreciate is that it isn't integrated into my web browser. It has its own search application that looks like what I expect an indexing application to look like.
    • Does it search files? I really want something that searches file/folder names, I dont care a whole lot about the contents.
      • Re:Copernic (Score:5, Funny)

        by aussie_a (778472) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:54PM (#14684727) Journal
        What OS are you using? Because there's this wonderful OS, you may have heard of it, it's called Windows 3.0, is able to search for file names. Now it may not search for a file folder, but it could. I haven't used it in some time.
    • Re:Copernic (Score:3, Informative)

      by bradleyland (798918)
      I've removed Copernic from several of my customer's PCs after complaints of slowdowns and crashes on startup. It might just be a side effect of these types of products (Desktop Search), but based on my experience, you may encounter performance issues.
  • EFF It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:27PM (#14684517)
    By user demand, Google introduces Google Anal Probe Beta (hereafter GAP). GAP searches that last gap of yours that we haven't been able to reach. We will be able to recommend foods you might like, various restaurants and whether you've ever been abducted by aliens.

    "Google, is this painful?" you might ask. Not anymore! Thanks to GooLube Beta you won't feel a thing.

    Folks, I'm not overly inclined to paranoia, but be careful. Unique application identifiers? Uploading information for across-machine search? Google never deletes anything. Ever. They might not be doing anything insidious with it now. But in five years, ten years? Who can say.
  • Seriously, I've been using slashdot for ages, and this kind of problem -- in this case more obvious than most -- is just retarded.
  • The new Google Desktop sends "copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents [to] Google's own servers"?

    That's scary. What happened to "do no evil"?

    Either Google is dropping that premise, or the EFF is overreacting. I wouldn't rule out the latter, in the least..
    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:34PM (#14684572) Homepage Journal
      They make it perfectly clear what they are doing and ask you before doing it.. how is that evil?

      By that logic fdisk and format are evil programs because they delete stuff.

    • Google's "do no evil" claim is a jedi mind trick. they say they do no evil, so they can do evil.
    • by aussie_a (778472) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:40PM (#14684621) Journal
      The new Google Desktop sends "copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents [to] Google's own servers"?

      That's scary. What happened to "do no evil"?


      It's necessary for a feature they're offering (searching your files across multiple computers). If you disable the feature, no harm done. If you want the future, then you kinda have to give them the ability to store the stuff on their computer.

      I'd say that Google has meet their "do no evil" requirement in this (I do believe they have broken it though by deciding to go against their morals to enter the Chinese market. They've gone from "do no evil" to "do nothing unlawful"). They haven't placed files on their servers for no reason at all. Instead they have done it and offered additional functionality as a result. Are they doing it to gain a profile on their users? Of course (even if they are waiting at the moment). But everything Google does is aimed at creating a profile on their customers in order to send them ads. You have to decide for yourself whether or not you consider that evil. I personally don't. Now if they decide to sell that profile to another company, THEN I would consider them even more evil, and will boycott all google products.
      • It's necessary for a feature they're offering (searching your files across multiple computers).

        No it isn't. They could store the data encrypted (index data and documents), using a private key known only to the user. Not only would it work, it would be easy to implement. And you could toss in a compression algorithm to reduce bandwidth and storage overhead. And Google has far more than enough sharp minds to have thought of this. Assuming the EFF's report is accurate, Google chose to keep the data in accessib
    • This is something the user has to enable on his/her own. It's not like they're going to post all your important docs online without your consent. If you're worried about it, just make sure the damn checkbox isn't checked.
    • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @11:02PM (#14684769)
      It's not google's fault that the current regime that resides in washington has an appetite for illegally invading the privacy of american citizens.
    • this distinct lack of information is funny:
      a) the data is only sent if the user says so,
      b) the data is apparently encrypted,
      c) it is deleted after 30 days.

      there need be no privacy concern, if you don't like the idea of handy convenient storage, don't enable it.
  • by Shky (703024) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [yraeloykhs]> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:30PM (#14684538) Homepage Journal
    It kind of makes one wonder how long it will be until we simply stop thinking about where our documents are stored. I've kind of assumed that, soon enough, we'll simply have our key that we'll use to access our information anywhere, anytime. Seeing the things coming out of 37Signals [37signals.com] and other likeminded businesses that allow you to store and edit information online from anywhere, it really seems like this is the way we're headed. The only thing is, will we find some way to keep our information more secure, or will the average joe just stop caring?
    • by Shky (703024) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [yraeloykhs]> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:47PM (#14684672) Homepage Journal
      And, just as an addition, this is my explanation why I think we will simply stop worrying about this, for the most part.

      Most of us have simply accepted that websites will leave cookies on our computer. But we, of course, have learned to manage these; we only keep the ones we want, and probably not for very long.

      We don't seem to mind that every website gets our IP address, but the very private can uses proxies (plenty of FF extensions) if they wish.

      There are countless examples like this, where we have these privacy invasions, but we've simply accepted them, and learned to manage them. Now, whether this is a good thing or bad thing might be an entirely separate discussion. So I think that we will accept our documents being stored anywhere, but we'll learn to be careful, still. You might use an online text editor to make your resume, but maybe you'll leave your contact information off it, and only when you're ready to print will you temp-save it locally, add that info, and then print it.

      I just really think we'll all get used to not knowing exactly where our stuff is, but we'll know what to do if we really need to be careful about it. For a little while, at least.
      • Well, what I think is going to happen is we'll all be fine with storing documents off site, but only when they're encrypted and the storage entity doesn't have the key. Key management will be an issue, but it wouldn't be too hard to have your keys stored by a third party that's not owned by the party who's storing the information. Hell, the key storage entity could be offshore in another country like Switzerland who won't just bend over when the US government wants to data mine everyones documents.
  • Double standards? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sinij (911942) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:31PM (#14684544) Journal
    Double standards boggle my mind. Microsoft would be lynched for half the things Google gets away from. Can someone please tell me why having your all private correspondence (gmail) or your file system (desktop) searchable by someone OTHER THAN ORIGINAL OWNER is a good idea? I know Google not suppose to extract any information, but if they CAN at some point they WILL.
    • Actually I would trust Microsoft to not search through my stuff. Which is why I had a hotmail address for years. I'll trust the companies, up until I learn that they HAVE broken that trust (by searching through my stuff). As for the government searching through my stuff, I expect companies to comply with local laws. Although if it is an international company deciding to break into a new market and they claim to be guided by something other then profits, I'll hold them to that.
    • Re:Double standards? (Score:5, Informative)

      by NetRAVEN5000 (905777) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:54PM (#14684725) Homepage
      Can someone please explain why information sharing (the Internet) is a good idea? Can someone please explain why making your files available to others (the Internet, file-sharing programs like BitTorrent) is a good idea?

      And can someone please explain to parent why it's a good idea to RTFA? It specifically says, "If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers".

      If you don't want Google searching your files, quit your bitching and select "No, thanks, don't upload my files" or whatever.

    • Re:Double standards? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by teslatug (543527)
      And Microsoft doesn't have private correspondence (hotmail, msn)? How about your ISP, does it have any? You can encrypt all way around, but then you'll have to make the recipients of your mail decrypt it. It's just easier to trust someone. Who you trust is up to you. I'd go with google seeing as they didn't bend over for the government like Yahoo and Microsoft did (and probably your ISP would).
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
      Isn't it cute how Microsoft fanboys get all twisted when you just mention Google? :P

      Please feel free to explain to me how gmail is bad and hotmail is not. And while you're at it, does your "other than original owner" comment mean to imply random people? If so, I'd like to know how you think this happens. If instead you are noting that moving personal data to servers owned and controlled by others might be a bad idea... wasn't that the point of this article? And with that criticism in mind, where is this
  • It knows too much. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overneath42 (905500) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:32PM (#14684553)
    I briefly used Google Desktop because everyone raved about its amazing versatility. I also wanted a desktop search similar to Spotlight. When Google Desktop started bookmarking sites for me and linking to things I didn't ask for, I stopped using it almost immediately. I'm not interested in having a computer moderate my life for me. I wouldn't trust any company with personal data, even if it is Google. Hell, I don't really even trust Google that much. It seems like they're growing too big too fast, built on too many creative yet economically-tenuous technologies. When will the house of cards collapse?
    • by nate nice (672391)
      "When will the house of cards collapse?"

      When little Billy comes over and sneezes on them, like he always does.

      And then procedes to cut you, rape your mother and steal your cards. This is also why I think MS is a good investment, especially right now (buy low, sell high!). I guess when they steal Googles capitol their stock should rise about 200% or so...sad story but hey, it works for me!

      (yes, yes, I know Google has all the "talent" and "new ideas" and technologically "cool" things. I know another compan
  • I'm actually using Google to back up a lot of my word (well, OOo now) files, MP3s, and PDFs. At least most of the ones under 10 MB.
  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:34PM (#14684570) Journal
    Don't enable the "search across computers" option. I doubt Google would enable it by default, as that would suck up a terrible amount of bandwidth and server storage, unless they're confident that they have the resources to burn on a feature that nobody will use (to search computers they own [bad pun]).
    • by rm69990 (885744)
      I just installed the new version. It is NOT enabled by default. This is the text displayed right next to where you click to enable the feature:

      Index and search my documents and viewed web pages from across all my computers.

      (This feature stores your indexed files on Google Desktop servers for copying to your other computers. Learn more about this feature or our Privacy Policy.)

      They provide links to both. Much more upfront than say, Bonzai Buddy.
  • Nani? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:34PM (#14684574) Homepage Journal
    Well, if everyone has two GB of space, it makes sense to use it somehow. These guys sure do want to get their hands on a lot of data.
  • so i don't even have to be online for hackers to get into my files? sweet!
  • by jZnat (793348)
    *is a Debian user*
  • FTFY Google (Score:5, Funny)

    by daemonenwind (178848) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:40PM (#14684613)
    Do Know Evil

    There, fixed that for ya.
  • by mineavatar (945652) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:43PM (#14684643)
    The "search across computers" options is DISABLED by default. The user has to turn it on, and only then is any data stored on Google servers (and then it is only stored on the servers for no more than a month). CNN was repeating the same inaccurate statement this morning.
  • by Pranjal (624521) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:45PM (#14684658)
    I guess anyone can easily upload copyrighted MP3's? Does that mean Google is a RIAA target now?
  • by Devistater (593822) <{devistater} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:51PM (#14684699)
    I'm using google desktop right now and for a while I've been wondering if there's anything better. What I really want is something that searches file/folder names for strings or words. I dont care a whole lot about the contents.
    For instance if I had a file names "my family pics from vacation to hawaii in 2006 2314.jpg"
    I'd like to be able to find that with a search of keywords like:
    family pics
    hawaii vacation
    2006 pics
    etc. Currently google desktop turns up way too many hits, when all I want are files with those words in the filename.

    So I want more of a filename (and foldername!) searcher than anything else. Bonus if it can only search .jpg files for the above example. And something thats faster than that awefully slow windows search. Windows search usually does more of what I want than google desktop does, but dang is it slow, and not very flexible. Heck, I'd keep google if it had something to limit its searching to filenames instead of the insides of files.
  • Oh shut up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 77Punker (673758) <<spencr04> <at> <highpoint.edu>> on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:52PM (#14684704)
    It's disabled by default. It's no threat unless you choose to use it, in which case it's still mostly benign. BTW, OF COURSE everything Google does is used for advertising data gathering. That's how their business works. If you don't like it, don't use it. It's been that way from day one.
  • by Kickboy12 (913888) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @10:56PM (#14684741) Homepage
    The article seems to be blaming Google for doing this. What the government takes from Google is not Google's fault, people should be gleaming their eye at the government for trying to delve into people's personal lives. Google is trying to create a service, and a very good service at that. Google is a privacy advocate, they are not destroying your privacy. All data they collect is very secure, and Google has shown they are willing to fight in court for users' privacy.

    People should be looking at the government. In my opinion, if US Government uses Google to watch what people do on the internet, they aren't much better than China.

    This is not Google's fault. Stop blaming them.

    As for this statement:
    "...while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password."
    Google is pretty good about passwords. If someone gets your password, it's your fault. Second, I'm not convinced you can search your records remotely. The Google Desktop search runs directly from your computer, you can't access or search your files remotely using this feature. Proof: If you have it installed, what IP does it go to when you search your files? 127.0.0.1:4664 Oh snap, what a concept!

    It's all bullshit. People need to start giving people the facts and stop praying on their ignorance.

    The end.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday February 09, 2006 @11:10PM (#14684809) Journal
    I read about this earlier and my first thought was: This is going to be a nightmare for businesses.

    Can you imagine the kind of trouble employees and companies could get in if confidential data is being stored on Google's servers?

    God help the company that accidentally gets medical or financial data stored on Google's servers.

    This is a huge gaping security hole for companies. Google's Desktop Search is going to end up on the list of unnaceptable software... even if the feature is disabled by default.
  • by Anonymous Bullard (62082) on Friday February 10, 2006 @01:15AM (#14685403) Homepage
    For many people Google's increasingly shameless behavior only means that they're now aware that their privacy is being compromised by this profit-oriented entity which was formerly known for its "Do No Evil" marketing slogan.

    It is easy to forget that by agreeing to censor its search engine in cahoots with the Chinese dictatorship, Google is now also helping repress millions of Tibetans who have suffered under harsh military occupation by the Chinese since 1950.

    Since people tend to be more familiar with the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust or Stalin's invasions and gulags, what if Google had made a business pact with the Nazis or Stalin providing their ignorant populations with entertainment and "harmless legitimate-looking facts" while suppressing all knowledge of the horrors those regimes caused to the people they oppressed?

    This is what Google (and Microsoft and Yahoo) are doing in China today. All knowledge of the Chinese crimes against the Tibetan nation or the Tibetan people's struggle to regain their independence are systematically wiped out from their search results as if none of it ever happened, at the behest of the ruling Chinese Communist Party dictatorship.

    What is the point of having an "information service" which covers up the most crucial information relating to massive human rights violations? A glorified pacifier to placate the ignorant masses while their ruling regime is busy carrying out genocide to its horrible conclusion?

    An estimated 1,500,000 Tibetans (!!) have already perished under the Chinese occupation (nearly a fifth of total population), Tibetan language, buddhist religion, identity and history are systematically suppressed while the CCP is promoting Chinese settlers to overrun Tibet demographically. Not to mention Tibetan natural resources being stolen, nuclear waste dumped there and more nuclear missile sites being built to threaten all democracies south of the Himalayas. Or the brutality of the CCP's paramilitary police against the large number of Tibetan political prisoners being held in secret camps across Tibet. The Chinese population should be allowed to compare these facts to the current feed of Communist Party-driven anti-Japanese propaganda over that brutal, if partial invasion that ceased to take place over sixty years ago. Which invasion is supposed to be less evil and why?

    Google's [phayul.com] Chinese (dis)service will compliantly keep any of this information from reaching the Chinese or the Tibetans under Chinese occupation because an unelected and expansionist regime wanted them to collaborate.

    This shouldn't be only about self-centered westerners worrying about their god-given personal privacy, although privacy is of course extremely important even in democracies with other safety mechanisms against abuse. No, it is far more sinister when corporations from the "democratic world" are helping cover up a holocaust or genocide being committed by their business partners!

    What we need is search, webmail etc. services which are guaranteed to remain neutral and safe without turning evil at the first profit-motive. Or which are not subject to American "shareholders uber alles" mentality which corrupted Google. Could/should such services be based in Switzerland or Sweden, both historically neutral territories without track record of collaborating with dictatorial regimes? Would they need massive financing, thereby potentially subjecting them to the whims of the moral-free financial markets, or could enough of their functions (CPU load, distributed and encrypted storage) be offloaded, a la bittorrent, to contributing users and neutral, respectable institutions?

    How could the OSS communities help build safe alternatives to Google's morality and privacy-compromised offerings?

    In the meanwhile some Tibetan support groups [studentsfo...etibet.org] are promoting

    • *sigh* I'm getting really tired of seeing this kind of bullcrap spouted all over slashdot whenever Google gets mentioned. Believing point blank that google is evil because they now have a china specific version of their search engine is ludicrous.

      Firstly the chinese specific portal was created because the experience delivered by their worldwide portal was less than adequate (whether this is the result of filtering thanks to the great firewall of china I don't know). As a result people in china now have a se
    • >Google is now also helping repress millions of
      >Tibetans who have suffered under harsh military
      >occupation by the Chinese since 1950.

      man I'm giving up my moderator points but what the heck.

      http://www.google.cn/search?hl=zh-CN&q=free+tibet& btnG=Google+%E6%90%9C%E7%B4%A2&meta= [google.cn]

      • How many times can you give up your mod points under one subject? :-)

        Anyway, if your point was to show how "google.cn" will proudly display honest search results for queries forbidden by the Chinese regime, you'd be better off (well actually worse off but hey...) trying that search from the other side of the Chinese Communist Party's fancy censorship filters, built with the courteous help by certain Cisco Corp.

        Not only would do you fail to get uncensored results but the Party's own "Public Security" parami

  • What about China? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Friday February 10, 2006 @01:23AM (#14685426) Homepage Journal
    When China demands Google censor searches, they agree. So if China asks Google to search user's desktops for keywords (Democracy, Revolution, Freedom, etc), will Google agree there?
  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Friday February 10, 2006 @02:54AM (#14685693)
    I'm beginning to think that I'm the only person who creates directory hierarchies for my documents, and names them with meaningful names.
  • by jmorkel (952809) on Friday February 10, 2006 @08:36AM (#14686581)

    I can't understand why people spring to Google's defence as if they are employees or shareholders whenever issues regarding the search giant pop up here. There are two issues here that people seem to be upset about:

    1. Google is taking mining of personal information a step further by storing individuals' information that was not intentionally put there on their servers.
    2. The legal implications of having information stored by Google rather than only on your computer mean that only a lightweight subpoena is required rather than a hefty court-issued search warrant. The result of this is that the legal requirements for getting hold of one's personal documents are less.

    As has been mentioned here, Google, while a large influential company that makes our lives simpler, is still bound by the laws of the countries in which they operate. The company is run by individuals who are open to corruption (since nobody's perfect). Most people would think twice before leaving their PCs unlocked if they walk away from their desks (rather than trusting their colleagues), but a disturbing majority of people here seem to have blind faith in a company simply because they have a "Don't be evil" motto.

  • by mattr (78516) <mattr@telebod[ ]om ['y.c' in gap]> on Friday February 10, 2006 @09:55AM (#14687159) Homepage Journal
    Granted Google Desktop is free (as is enterprise edition for now too, except support is $10K/yr), there is a very funny side to this too. Most people these days have *way* too much memory and CPU, considering the tasks for which they are using their machines. I mean computing, not realtime 3D rendering, sound synthesis or maneuvering bloated app bits around. The computing side of machines. Personal computers these days have enough power these days to run powerful search engines of their own without farming it across the net. I myself am very happy Google is doing this since last year I designed a simple program that has some of the same functionality and now I can point to Google and say "but my system is safer". How long until those neat ethernet equipped hard disks come with similar searching/rsyncing features? Anyway I keep rating everything I see against the BeOS (now Zeta) live search query folders. So far that is the best darned thing I've seen.

You're already carrying the sphere!

Working...