Feeds

Google Desktop privacy branded 'unacceptable'

The Goo that knows you

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Google's Desktop represents a privacy disaster just waiting to happen, a rival has warned. David Burns, Copernic CEO, says users should know that the giant ad broker intends to mix public and private queries in the future, leveraging its key moneyspinning product: contextual advertising.

"If you lined people and said, 'Stick your hand up if you want Google to know what pictures you have, and what MP3 files you have,' I don't think many would." Burns had offered these capabilities to partners before, but received some pushback.

"Major brands don't want to compromise their reputation. We've offered this in the past to potential partners, and had a major PC hardware company and major portals say 'No, we can't do this'", Burns told us.

With the subpoena-happy RIAA getting support from state law enforcement in its war on copyright infringers, Google represents a single point of compromise for millions of file traders.

Copernic offers a native Windows search application both as a free download and as a branded offering to partners, and has toyed with merging the two before. But it's realized personal archives are very different to Google's snapshot of the web - and the queries are different too.

"I don't deny desktop and web on the same page is attractive," he added. "But we're not going to do it."

Burns was former US chief of FAST, which created the All The Web search site before selling it to Overture. Yahoo! now owns both.

Google Desktop Search allows users to opt out of sending the company back detailed usage data, but it isn't possible to firewall it completely. Much more ominously, reckons Burns, Google's product manager Marissa Mayer said she expected the private queries to generate more hits for google.com. Most people, she believed, would choose to combine personal and web searches resulting in more revenue for Google's ad business.

"As a result, we will serve more Web results pages and more ads, and those ads have more chances of getting clicked on. So there will be incremental Web search revenue from this product," she told the Washington Post.

In January, Eric Schmidt said the company's goal was to create a "Google that knows you". With the addition of personal information, it's just taken a giant step towards that goal. ®

Related links

Copernic
Google Desktop

Related stories

Google's Gmail: spook heaven?
Google launches desktop search for Windows PCs
Google slammed for corporate sleaze
SEC to examine Playboy for boobs
The battle for email privacy

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.