Google Desktop Can be a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Matt Keil


Category: Firewall

ALERT – Google Desktop has become popular in large part due to very painful desktop search functions in Windows. It is able to find documents and email very quickly and accurately. However, it has a feature that should probably be of considerable concern for enterprises. A feature called Search Across Computers ought to raise eyebrows. The feature uploads text versions of all indexed files to Google’s servers in order to allow users to find information they are looking for regardless of which computer they might be using at the time. A quote from the Wikipedia entry on Google Desktop ought to be enough to make you think about updating to App Update 26 in order to understand how Google Desktop is being used in your enterprise:

The EFF advises against using this feature. Also, those who have confidential data on their work or home computers should not enable this feature. There are privacy laws and company policies that could be violated through the installation of this feature, specifically, SB 1386, HIPAA, FERPA, GLBA and Sarbanes-Oxley.

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