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March 15, 2006

Another Tool Leaves the Nest

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While you were still reeling from yesterday’s Google/DOJ non-decision, Google released their Google Desktop out into the world last night, officially ridding it of its beta status. Ah, they grow up so fast. The new released version includes all the evil (but optional) GDrive ‘Search Across Computers’ components, as well as a unique Quick Search Box and Lock Search option.

Those who opt to give Google complete and unfiltered access to all of their personal files and information so that the search engine can “store” it on their hard drive (I know, I’m paranoid), can enable Google’s new Quick Search Box. This search tool lies ‘hidden’ in the center of your desktop and allows users to perform a full search, scanning both web and desktop files. To make the box appear, simply hit the Ctrl key twice. Hit Ctrl two more times and the box will magically disappear. Pat your stomach and a cookie will be released out of your CD-ROM. Just kidding! (Though I’m sure Google is working on a tool for that too: GCookie.)

If you’re the kind of person who’s only afraid of people seeing your information (as opposed to corporate search engines), you may be interested in Google’s Lock Search option, designed to prevent anyone from doing a Desktop Search on your computer. Simply click on the Lock Search icon and you will no longer be able to search from the Desktop homepage, sidebar, deskbar or Quick Search Box. Snazzy.

The released version of Google Desktop includes vast improvements and updates to the desktop sidebar and panels, homepage, advanced search, results pages, timeline view and preferences page. Complete details of the improvements (and there’s a bunch!) can be found on the Google Desktop info page.

The upgraded status comes just two days after the folks at Computer World publicly labeled Google Desktop 3 an ‘unacceptable security risk’, warning IT managers to steer clear of the Search Across Computers function that could potentially weaken a corporation’s network. The controversial feature allows Google to store a user’s information so that it can be indexed, thereby making it searchable. Google promises the information is encrypted and accessible to only limited number of Google employees.

Big Brother paranoia aside, the new Google Desktop looks like it will be a hit among unorganized users. Good job guys… but I’m still not letting you read what’s on my hard drive.

(Hat-Tip Search Engine Watch.)

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