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Google Desktop Search

Search the desktop

     
2:21 pm on Oct 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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[desktop.google.com...]

Have fun :)

[reuters.com...]
orielly [oreillynet.com]

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Reuters) - Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Thursday rolled out a preliminary version of its new desktop search tool, making the first move against its major competitors in the race to provide tools for finding information buried in computer hard drives.

The Google Desktop offering takes direct aim at Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , which bought a desktop search business in July, as well as current and expected desktop product releases from other companies such as Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , Ask Jeeves Inc. (ASKJ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) AOL.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:33 am (utc) on Oct. 15, 2004]
[edit reason] added links [/edit]

2:30 pm on Oct 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The "security problem" is spurious - it's blaming the tool rather than identifying the cause.

The desktop search can only search for documents on the computer which are already available, or unprotected. It is just a facilitating mechanism, not some l33t hacker tool.

If you send personal emails on a public machine and don't clear the cache afterwards, you are the one to blame, because even without desktop search someone could manually search through the browser cache and find the same information. To lay the blame with Google is severely misguided.

I might add, how many public terminals give users the admin rights needed to install software?

You'd be surprised. Most web cafés I've visited are running standard installs of 98 or XP, usually completely unpatched, and stuffed with so much spyware it's a miracle they boot at all.

Some technical questions: can desktop search be installed without Administrator priviledges? Can it run as a normal user? On a multi-user machine, does it search the documents and temporary internet files of just the user who is running it, or does it offer results from every user's folders?

Another question that comes to mind is related to the Google brand. What we have is an early public beta of a program, but the basic way of functioning is clear: you have a non-technical consumer-oriented, Windows-only application aimed squarely at Microsoft's home turf - the desktop has been owned almost exclusively by Microsoft for approaching 2 decades. The application is tightly integrated into the operating system, creating a mesh between local and web search. It uses a background process, storing all the user's information in a closed, binary format, and it attempts to send back binary reports to Google.

The question is, would you have had the same reaction to this product if it was made by another company than Google. How about if it was Microsoft? Or Claria? Does the fact that it is badged Google influence your opinion on how the program operates?

5:32 pm on Oct 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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justageek: Anyone seeing scans from the internet into port 4664 yet?

It seems to only activate the socket for your local computer. No other box can reach it.

stuntdubl: it seems like some level of password protection for desktop search might be a good idea.

Windows XP and 2K already has password protection. If you don't want someone on your computer, just press Ctrl-Alt-Delete, then "Lock Computer". [Which has become second nature for me after some pranks by co-workers]

The alternate is for Google Desktop to make you login every time you do a search. Which would make the UI unusable. If you have a better intermediate solution, I'm curious what it would be.

dizzyDiz: but I often work offline (portable) will the desktop search work offline?

Works fine for me. Double click the swirly icon in the tasktray and it will popup your default browser. [the webserver is sitting on your laptop. No internet required! ]

3:18 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It seems to only activate the socket for your local computer. No other box can reach it.

That's what I am hoping. Does it set up a listener on the port that can only be accessed locally or can calls from another machine activate a response?

The "security problem" is spurious - it's blaming the tool rather than identifying the cause.

I'm not sure I agree with that. The "security problem" is when something like this might make it easy for anyone to access the data. Like leaving the keys to the bank vault lying around. People have a reasonable expectation that their items are safe and just because a key is made available doesn't mean the vault is at fault :-)

JAG

7:29 am on Oct 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Does it set up a listener on the port that can only be accessed locally or can calls from another machine activate a response?

The listener seems to only be local. If you call in from another computer, then there is no response at all.

I'm not sure I agree with that. The "security problem" is when something like this might make it easy for anyone to access the data. Like leaving the keys to the bank vault lying around. People have a reasonable expectation that their items are safe and just because a key is made available doesn't mean the vault is at fault :-)

I don't agree with your 'bank vault' analogy. How about this one: Assume a user's computer is like a private library. There are books all over the place, but it might take hours to find the one you are looking for. Suppose I make a nice card catelogue and put it in the library. Now it takes minutes to find a the right book.

The question: Do I need to padlock the catalogue?
- Note: Since the catalogue is in the library, you can't get to it unless you have a key to the library. [and if anyone can wander into the library, then you have bigger problems]

12:03 am on Oct 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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