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Google Desktop

Last response: in Windows XP
October 22, 2004 4:02:19 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

Do any of you know whether or not this is worthwhile ?


More about : google desktop

October 22, 2004 4:02:20 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

I tried it already and find it a new way to index your files, also Microsoft
included it within it's new Partners package which you can download now from :

Hope this could help you


"Phian" wrote:

> Do any of you know whether or not this is worthwhile ?
> Phian
October 22, 2004 10:17:01 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

"Phian" wrote:

> Do any of you know whether or not this is worthwhile ?
> Phian

Is New Google Software Spyware?
Permalink | Top

There has been much uproar recently about a new search tool from Google, the
Google Desktop Search. The software searches through the hard drive on the
computer and allows someone to search the contents of every single file
present. That includes searching files in another user's private folders.
Potentially, someone could use this program to read another person's email.
Some are calling this program spyware.

I've thought about this for several days as to whether or not this makes the
progrqam spyware. I have to say, I am disturbed by this piece of software.

On one hand, it would be the perfect tool for someone to use to read the
email saved in your private folders. In addition to allowing one user to read
the private files of another user, Google Desktop also collects information
from the machine on which it is installed.

Google Desktop Search creates a unique tracking number and communicates with
Google over the internet after it is installed. It also uses the same cookie
set by This would allow it to associate the information sent to
Google with your Google searches and other your use of other Google services.

The program includes a backdoor autoupdater that cannot be disabled.
Autoupdaters that cannot be disabled are one of my pet peeves. It
demonstrates a lack of respect for the user by the developer of the software.
No one has the right to install or alter software on someone's computer
without their explicit permission. This backdoor updater also sends the
unique tracking number back to Google.

The following is from the program's privacy policy:

What information does Google receive?

By default, Google Desktop Search collects a limited amount of non-personal
information from your computer and sends it to Google. This includes summary
information, such as the number of searches you do and the time it takes for
you to see your results, and application reports we'll use to make the
program better. You can opt out of sending this information during the
installation process or from the application preferences at any time.

Personally identifying information, such as your name or address, will not
be sent to Google without your explicit permission.

How we use unique application numbers, cookies and related information.

Your copy of Google Desktop Search includes a unique application number.
When you install Google Desktop Search, this number and a message indicating
whether the installation succeeded is sent back to Google so that we can make
the software work better. Additionally, when Google Desktop Search
automatically checks to see if a new version is available, the current
version number and the unique application number are sent to Google. If you
choose to send us non-personal information about your use of Google Desktop
Search, the unique application number with this non-personal information also
helps us understand how you use Google Desktop Search so that we can make it
work better. The unique application number is required for Google Desktop
Search to work and cannot be disabled.

Google Desktop Search uses the same cookie as and other Google
services. If you send us non-personal information about your Google Desktop
Search use, we may be able to make Google services work better by associating
this information with other Google services you use and vice versa. You can
opt out of sending such non-personal information to Google during the
installation process or from the application preferences at any time.

On the other hand, spying on people is not the purpose of the software.
Anyone using the program for that purpose is misusing it. Other programs also
can search for text within files on the hard drive, including the text editor
I use to write this newsletter.

Windows does allow you to restrict access to your own private folders.
Google Desktop Search cannot access your private files if you restrict access
to them. Windows does not do this by default, so you will have to do that

If you are using Windows XP with simple file sharing, open Windows Explorer
to C:\documents and settings\. Find the folder with your user name,
right-click on it and click properties. Click the sharing tab and check the
box that says "Make this folder private".

The software lets you opt out of sending any information back to Google,
with the exception of the tracking number sent by the backdoor updater. In
addition, installing the software itself is optional. You have to go to
Google's web site to download it before you can install it.

Although someone else with access to your computer can install the software
and misuse it to spy on you, they also could just install specialized
monitoring software for that same purpose. For that matter, they can just
open Windows Explorer and open these files in a text editor.

Is it spyware? After taking all of the above into account, I would have to
say no. However, I do believe it is a dangerous piece of software. While its
purpose is not to allow one person to spy upon another, it makes it far too
easy to do just that. Combined with the backdoor updater, the comingling of
the software with your cookie and the information that it
collects, Google Desktop Search is dangerously close to the edge of
unacceptable behavior.