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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 15th Dec 04, 4:34 PM
    • 8,111Posts
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    MSE Martin
    Google desktop - its cool
    • #1
    • 15th Dec 04, 4:34 PM
    Google desktop - its cool 15th Dec 04 at 4:34 PM
    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
Page 1
    • peter_the_piper
    • By peter_the_piper 15th Dec 04, 9:59 PM
    • 26,404 Posts
    • 35,841 Thanks
    peter_the_piper
    • #2
    • 15th Dec 04, 9:59 PM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #2
    • 15th Dec 04, 9:59 PM
    Just seen this on the register, is it safe?
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/15/google_gartner_desktop_search/
  • LincsLad
    • #3
    • 15th Dec 04, 10:06 PM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #3
    • 15th Dec 04, 10:06 PM
    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.
  • credit-card-tart
    • #4
    • 15th Dec 04, 11:51 PM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #4
    • 15th Dec 04, 11:51 PM
    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
    • By meclive 16th Dec 04, 7:12 AM
    • 467 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    meclive
    • #5
    • 16th Dec 04, 7:12 AM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #5
    • 16th Dec 04, 7:12 AM
    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
    • #6
    • 16th Dec 04, 10:09 AM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #6
    • 16th Dec 04, 10:09 AM
    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.
  • LincsLad
    • #7
    • 16th Dec 04, 12:17 PM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #7
    • 16th Dec 04, 12:17 PM
    ... 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
    • #8
    • 17th Dec 04, 6:30 PM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #8
    • 17th Dec 04, 6:30 PM
    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!
  • raeble
    • #9
    • 18th Dec 04, 12:40 AM
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    • #9
    • 18th Dec 04, 12:40 AM
    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.

  • LincsLad
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    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 !! :
    • peter_the_piper
    • By peter_the_piper 18th Dec 04, 10:31 AM
    • 26,404 Posts
    • 35,841 Thanks
    peter_the_piper
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    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.
  • raeble
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    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 have mozilla myself, I'm not that keen on IE but I always update the security holes. At least you know that Microsoft wants to send a message to hq telling it about your crash. I always say no. Who knows about whether it is more or less of a security risk than google's offering. I would say less because it asks your permission when it wants to do that.

    As google has permission from you to access the internet, it could be passing all manner of information that you would rather it didn't with your so-called agreement without your knowledge. I think If you are going to download something like that be aware of the potential risks, and what the software is actually doing on your machine.
    • monomer
    • By monomer 20th Dec 04, 9:31 PM
    • 216 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    monomer
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    This is probably not going be a surprise to anyone but...

    Researchers at Rice University on Monday made public a bug in Google Desktop Search that could let hackers secretly search the contents of a user's hard drive. Google, which was made aware of the flaw last month, has created a fix and is updating the software automatically as users connect to the Internet.
    Source: TechWeb on 20/12/2004

    I think the important bit is that if you have version number 121004 (for December 10, 2004) or above, you're ok.
    • londonman81
    • By londonman81 20th Dec 04, 11:50 PM
    • 1,079 Posts
    • 300 Thanks
    londonman81
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    A general post about security - I've occassionally found files on my computer which I don't remember making....

    I am actually borrowing a computer from someone who wasn't using it anymore and had it in the loft
    Its a win 98 machine - maybe 5 or 6 years old - previous owner had no antivirus/firewall....

    I'm worried that my comp has/is being hacked into...

    Is it possible that a hacker could put/take files from my comp?? :-/
    • blinky
    • By blinky 21st Dec 04, 12:57 AM
    • 1,678 Posts
    • 2,603 Thanks
    blinky
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    What are the files called? Are they not some of Windows's own files?
    • londonman81
    • By londonman81 21st Dec 04, 12:32 PM
    • 1,079 Posts
    • 300 Thanks
    londonman81
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    What are the files called? Are they not some of Windows's own files?
    Nope - one is a picture of an very ugly looking imaginary object (Id rather not describe it!) and the file is called 'Persephone'..made using a Paint-type program but ugly nonethless - there are some others too inc Word files with gobbledegook - im mainly worried about people using my computer to dump/take stuff -could this be happening? :-/
  • LincsLad
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    Presumably you now have firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software in place on this PC??

    If so, and they are not identifying any problems, then there is little more you can do.

    If not, then yes, you are leaving the front door open for anyone who might want to access the files on your PC.
    • londonman81
    • By londonman81 21st Dec 04, 6:36 PM
    • 1,079 Posts
    • 300 Thanks
    londonman81
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    Presumably you now have !firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software in place on this PC??

    If so, and they are not identifying any problems, then there is little more you can do.

    If not, then yes, you are leaving the front door open for anyone who might want to access the files on your PC.
    I've not installed new firewall, anti-virus or anti-spyware because I'm borrowing the computer and don't wnt to spend money on something that I won't be using anymore soon - I'v tried the free adaware and other free anti virus etc but I find them to be a pain in the butt because they always seem to interfere with what I want to do - and also the free online anti-virus programs never seem to work consistently for me!

    Looks like i better just hurry up with buying that new PC.. :-/
  • mcwarre
    Re: Google desktop - its cool

    I've not installed new firewall, anti-virus or anti-spyware because I'm borrowing the computer and don't wnt to spend money on something that I won't be using anymore soon - I'v tried the free adaware and other free anti virus etc but I find them to be a pain in the butt because they always seem to interfere with what I want to do - and also the free online anti-virus programs never seem to work consistently for me!

    Looks like i better just hurry up with buying that new PC.. :-/

    You need your head examining!!!! Download AVG anti-virus (free and the best out there). Download Zonealarm (free and one of the best out there). For anti-adaware use either spybot search and destroy or adaware se personnel (again free).

    If you run a pc on the net without antivirus and firewall and anti-spware then you are asking to be hacked and please do not use it for internet banking or buying stuff without these excellent (FREE) products
    • sleepless saver
    • By sleepless saver 26th Dec 04, 10:55 PM
    • 2,688 Posts
    • 2,416 Thanks
    sleepless saver
    Re: Google desktop - its cool
    Got all excited and downloaded it but it doesn't work on Win98 SE :-/ just XP or 2000.
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