Google desktop - its cool

MSE_Martin
MSE_Martin Posts: 8,273
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Money Saving Expert
Right.  Google has this new bit of kit.  I've tried it and i like it.  You download it, it then searches through your harddrive and then when you do a google search you can do it just on the contents of your harddrive.

Now of course there is already a search facility on windows - but it takes ages and isn't very powerful.  The google search as it downloads and files all the information is instantaneous.

Now the software is actually in Beta test (trial) stage at the moment and I'm quite sure many techies will have various issues with it. But for non-techie users wanting a quick desktop search, it seems to work well enough.

And it's free

Link: Google Desktop
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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Comments

  • I'd rather be an Optimist and be proved wrong than a Pessimist and be proved right.
  • Let's be honest, NOTHING is 100% safe these days, apart from a PC that is never switched on. :-/

    There are better, and vastly more expensive, search options for the corporate world, but we are talking about personal PCs here - Gartner are not.

    As I pointed out in this thread though, there is an option to allow the Google Desktop Search to collect "non-personal usage data" and send it to Google to allow them to "improve" their product. Personally, I would turn this off during the install process or as soon as possible afterwards.


    Oh - and in response to Martin's ringing endorsement, it does not search ALL files on your hard drive - only certain types. But it IS fast, and should be comprehensive enough for most folk. Unless you use Firefox instead of IE, and MSN Messenger instead of the AOL version. But it is still a Beta product - I am sure the necessary improvements will come along eventually. :)
  • Has anyone run SpyWare software after installing this? As you don't know what details the software could be sending onto the Internet, especially if you have an always on broadband connection!!!
  • meclive
    meclive Posts: 482
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    Has anyone run SpyWare software after installing this? As you don't know what details the software could be sending onto the Internet, especially if you have an always on broadband connection!!!

    I doubt a company like google would affiliate their software with spyware, people would just avoid it. But i suppose its worth checking... just in case... :)
  • raeble
    raeble Posts: 911 Forumite
    I wouldn't be too sure about that. Besides, if you have software like that, someone will work out how to hack into it and thereby hack into your machine. I would be very worried about all the information google is collecting on people, nowhere have they said what they are doing with it all. There is some discussion posted here, here, here andhere. Call me cynical but I don't think google is doing this out of the goodness of their heart.
  • ... Besides, if you have software like that, someone will work out how to hack into it and thereby hack into your machine. ...

    Call me cynical but I don't think google is doing this out of the goodness of their heart.

    You are right that they are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, but to state that someone WILL be able to "hack into your machine" because you have installed a particular piece of software is a little far-fetched! :)

    I have a software firewall installed - will someone work out how to hack into that, and hence into my machine? Or Ad-aware? SpyBot? Windows Explorer? Microsoft Word? Why should the Google product be any more of a hackers pathway into my PC than another piece of software which interfaces with the Internet?

    I agree that Google's software seems to collect usage information and may not, therefore, be considered as a privacy enhancement but to brand it as some kind of 'slumbering trojan' is a little unfair.
  • rammell
    rammell Posts: 56 Forumite
    If you switch off the option to send info to Google, I'm comfortable that no info actually gets sent. However, there IS a security problem with this software if you share your computer with somebody else. This is particularly important if you're thinking of using Google Desktop on a work PC.
    Google Desktop adds pretty much EVERYTHING to its search index. That includes passwords that you receive in emails as well as the text in emails. So, when you do a search for "idiot" in the Google Desktop, it finds emails containing the word "idiot", even if the email isn't actually one of yours (so long as the email Desktop was running when the email was processed). In the same way, it could display passwords that were sent via email if you searched for "eBay", for example. TAKE CARE!
    ELR
  • raeble
    raeble Posts: 911 Forumite
    I shouldn't have used the term hacking, however I still believe it could potentially be a security risk. Having a firewall and virus checker does not make you completely safe from evey threat out there on the internet. It makes you safer but you shouldn't get complacent.
    You are right that they are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, but to state that someone WILL be able to "hack into your machine" because you have installed a particular piece of software is a little far-fetched! Smiley

    Maybe I didn't use the correct terminology however no program is perfect and if there is a security flaw and it is connected to the internet, then it is perfectly possible that someone could take advantage of that flaw and potentially access your machine. Looking at the latest microsoft security threat doesn't make my statement particularly far fetched at all.
  • I do take your points about a firewall and virus checker not making you completely safe. In fact you will see in an earlier post my own comment that the only safe PC is one that is not switched on ! :)

    Microsoft products are *ahem* 'renowned' for the number of security holes they contain. ::) Partly this has to be due to the size and complexity of the code, to the way it is developed and written, and perhaps also due to the fact that more 'hackers' target Microsoft than any other product.

    I agree that it is POSSIBLE that any program which interfaces with the Internet COULD have a security hole (if one exists) exploited - it happens almost weekly with Internet Explorer. :-/ But that is a long way from being as likely as "if you have software like that, someone will work out how to hack into it and thereby hack into your machine", which suggests (to me at least) that it is almost a certainty. But that is semantics.

    Incidentally, all of the products I listed in my last post interface with the Internet, yet we run most or all of those without a second thought. And if (say) MS Word crashes under WinXP, the PC wants to send a message telling Microsoft all about it - is sending that message any more or less a risk to privacy and to computer security than Google's offering?

    I would feel more secure using the Google Desktop Search than Internet Explorer, or any program that passes data to Microsoft. Which is the same as not feeling particularly secure about either !! ::)
  • I'd be more happy with a box coming up to ask permission to send details of a (poss)crash by MSWord than one that (poss)does it without your knowledge.
    All the Google progs are 'free', they must get their money from somewhere. The only thing they have to sell is Information--Yours! You don't volunteer the information, they gather it every time you use their programs.
    I think i'll give it a miss thanks.

    Paranoid of Tunbridge Wells.
    I'd rather be an Optimist and be proved wrong than a Pessimist and be proved right.
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