Associated Press is reporting that Google has debuted a new version of Google Desktop that features a new search capability that allows users to remotely search the contents of computers that they allow Google to index. The Google Desktop blog also has details.
The only catch is that Google is going to hold onto that data – your documents, files, and such – for 30 days. This is no doubt useful and no doubt requires you to relinquish some of your privacy. Google’s making all sorts of assurances (purging after 30 days, stored in encrypted form, etc.) and are actually pretty forward about the convenience-privacy exchange. It’ll be interesting to see how successful this is. Most casual computer users fly right past the end-user agreement step and just go.
Then there’s this twist:
Besides empowering computer-to-computer searches, the improved software allows users to set up an array of mini-applications, sometimes called “widgets,” to monitor topical information such as weather, stock quotes or news stories.
A la Yahoo! Widgets, except you can share these guys with other people. That could potentially be very cool. The Internet is changing. The browser can’t contain things anymore and content is leaking everywhere. It’s all one big mish mosh. Our data is over there. Their content is over here. The end-user experience possibilities are very exciting but this new breach is going to test and re-test privacy issues.