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Don't use Google desktop search in your business, warns Gartner

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Gartner has warned that companies shouldn't use the new Google Desktop Search tool because of security concerns and a lack of features.

In a three-page research document, the authors - Whit Andrews, Maurene Grey and David Smith - say the tool that was released in beta in October is "not the proper search tool for businesses right now".

Instead they reiterate concerns put forward by the CEO of Google rival Copernic, David Burns, two months ago: "Google's 'Consent to Collect Nonpersonal Information' states that GDS collects non-personal data; however, the policy is a one-sided contract in that the user must trust that Google will make the right decisions as to what it will collect."

However, it also doesn't offer enough features and for it to recommend Google it would want to see "greater customisation of interface, flexibility for visualisation of results, groupwide administration and index load-balancing".

Which is all very well, but we say whoah there, hold your horses, Gartner. Google's Desktop Search is barely two months old, it's still in beta and the company has made no pretence that it is ready for commercial roll-outs.

It will no doubt do what it did with its world-beating search engine and that is put it out there, get it tested by millions of everyday users, fix any holes, tack on some security and then sell a finished, secure product direct to businesses.

Which is exactly what Gartner wants. It could be said that they are being just a little impatient and churlish. If average Joe can have it, why can't I as Monster Plc? I want, I want, I want.

To its credit, Gartner does acknowledge that Google "is working on extended security features that will grant administrators greater control over where and how it may be installed."

But then it shoots itself in the foot. "Because of the lack of functions and the security risk, discourage the use of Desktop Search within your business. Instead, deploy a business-ready, supportable, secure personal search engine." Okay, great, except it doesn't actually tell you where these products are and who makes them.

Quite possibly because no one does. [A few are listed here - ed]It suggests that you run pilot programs and include Google's desktop search in it "so that if it is judged superior, its risks may be fairly measured against its benefits".

So, the clear message is: "Don't use Google's desktop search because of security concerns. Instead, use an alternative. But since they don't exist, use Google."

You can buy the report from Gartner's site here. ®

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