Feeds

Google Desktop privacy branded 'unacceptable'

The Goo that knows you

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?