Google Desktop

- November 21, 2007

Visiting my parents always opens my eyes to how other generations use the Internet. My parents, being in their 70’s, take pride in being able to do their own research via the search engines — so much pride they always show me their amazing findings and superb deals!

We gathered around their computer the other day as my father typed “european vacations” in the Google search bar. In the sponsored section, my father found his favorite site for booking vacations. But before he clicked their ad, he noticed underneath the paid ads (he now knows sponsored = paid) read “4 results stored on your computer”. So my father decides to click that instead and my mother’s mouth immediately dropped open as it led them to a document that was previously stored on their computer due to my mother’s own personal research.

“Why did Google find my documents?”  I saw the Google Desktop Icon next to those results and soon realized that my parents must have installed Google Desktop with one of their last program updates. I briefly explained what Google Desktop is and my mother became very nervous, thinking that anyone online searching for “european vacation” would have access to the documents on her computer. And, she continued questioning the fact that if Google had access to documents, would they also have access to her credit card numbers because she does a lot of online shopping? Before I could respond, my parents already had me searching for the program to uninstall it, to be reassured they didn’t have spies in their computer.

Google desktop allows you to search your computer just as easily as you would search the web. It’s a desktop search application that provides full text search over your email, files, music, photos, chats, Gmail, and web pages that you’ve viewed. To read about Google Desktop, you can visit

Google states “Your Google Desktop index and copies of your files are currently stored only on your computer. The content is not shared with Google or anyone else without your explicit permission.”

What are they going to come up with next?

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