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February 9, 2006

Google Introduces Desktop Beta 3

And it has some pretty interesting features.  The most striking functionality is the ability to share information between multiple computers.  This involves configuring the beta to actually do this as it's not a default setting.  Once enabled, Desktop copies files to a Google server which are retrievable from a second computer also running the Desktop program.  Security is maintained by requiring a Google login and Google's promise to keep information private.  The storage is temporary as necessary.  This is either a cool feature, or a disquieting back door to an invasion of privacy by the government, depending on the commentary.

There's probably some truth in both views.  The ability to retrieve files from multiple computers is useful when one works with several computers.  I have at least 3 at home and I'm constantly running between them with jump drives.  On the other hand, I have to place a lot of faith in Google that my data is secure.  They specifically note in their description of the service that private date is not subject to a Google search by others.  But as we all know, Google and others are required to turn over data as part of a legitimate government investigation.  I emphasize the word legitimate to distinguish one type of investigation from the broad swath of data he government is trying to rip out of Google in its defense of COPA.  The fact that there is this third party out there holding personal data that may be available to the government in some circumstances may not motivate some to using the service.  That's a personal decision.  Information about the service from Google is here.

February 9, 2006 | Permalink

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