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Google Desktop: Friend Or Foe?

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Google Desktop: Friend Or Foe?
2. Today's Top Story: Browsers
    - Spyware Barely Touches Firefox
    - Review: Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, And Other Browsers In Four-Way Shootout
3. Breaking News
    - Google Upgrades Desktop Software
    - Microsoft Hints At Dec. 1 For Windows Vista Launch
    - Federal And State Governments Look Into Microsoft Vista Antitrust Complaints
    - Microsoft Unveils New Firewall, Web-Filtering Software
    - AMD Says Koreans Raided Intel Offices In Antitrust Probe
    - Yahoo Accused In Jailing Of Second Chinese Internet User
    - RIM Unveils Plan To Keep BlackBerrys Alive
    - No Bad Thoughts, Please, We're BlackBerry Users
    - Internet Tops Consumer Complaints In New York State
    - Sun Patches 7 Critical Java Runtime Bugs
    - Boston Developing Plan For Citywide Wi-Fi
    - India Maps Chip Strategy, Continues Talks With Intel
    - Samsung Develops Tiny 1-Gbyte Memory Card--World's Fastest
4. Grab Bag: DVDs, Vista Antitrust, Collegiate Podcasting
5. In Depth: Personal Tech And Reviews
6. Voice Of Authority: Google On The Desktop
7. White Papers: Single Sign-On
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"It isn't the incompetent who destroy an organization. It is those who have achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up." -- Charles Sorenson


1. Editor's Note: Google Desktop: Friend Or Foe?

In the small workgroup I've been a part of for the last couple years, I've become somewhat notorious for the chronic loss--or inability to retain--E-mail messages and documents. I can almost hear the frustration running through the minds of others as I request--on an almost daily basis--yet another resend of a doc or message.

See if you can relate to my situation: You get copied on an endless series of E-mail strings, some that are marginally relevant to you, at the same time you're constantly bumping up against E-mail storage limitations that mean you need to do large-scale purging on a regular basis. Given the volume of E-mails, the number of meetings, and the regularity of interruptions, it's a real struggle just to detach or store critical E-mailed documents to your hard drive.

So it's encouraging to see that Google continues to enhance its Desktop software program. I already use it on my personal system and hope to extend that use--policies permitting--to my corporate activities. Yes, I'm quite concerned about the prospect of personal information getting stored on Google computers, but there are obvious steps I can take to avoid that, such as taking off my PC any data--such as financial account information--that I wouldn't want to be accessible to the outside world. And, for all the concerns that get raised about Google and whether it's becoming the world's biggest snoop, its download page gives clear, explicit instructions for how to prevent Google Desktop from indexing and searching certain data that you don't want it to. For many users, however, it's likely that won't be good enough and their privacy concerns, specifically relating to the Search Across Computers function, will outweigh the potential benefits. (For another view on the Google Desktop Search software, here's a compelling opinion from Preston Gralla of our Networking Pipeline site and yet another, more skeptical opinion worth airing.)

For me, my data storage is straightforward enough that I can excise or relocate the data that I wouldn't want Google to see. The real win, in my mind, is the ability to use the familiar Google search methodology--the only one that's ever really worked in my case--to search E-mails, documents, and other file types (the complete list of supported file types, notably excluding Lotus Notes, is here) and to locate them from multiple systems. That's a far cry from the excruciating process of trying to locate old messages in Notes or locate documents among the hundreds I store in folders on my hard drive. I predict that a few months from now, some co-workers--like me--will be grateful for this latest rev of Google Desktop.

Meanwhile, there's a corporate privacy angle to scrutinize as well. Google Desktop does raise legitimate issues for some security/IT pros who fear the loss of business data through this system. Google offers an enterprise version of Google Desktop that lets admins control the level of freedom users have to share files within or outside their organizations. But is that enough to make your company take the plunge into Google Desktop? Please respond to our poll on this issue or weigh in at my blog entry.

Tom Smith
tsmith@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story: Browsers

Spyware Barely Touches Firefox
In side-by-side tests of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox, IE proved to be far more vulnerable to spyware infections. Most of the exploits that leveraged IE vulnerabilities to plant spyware were based on ActiveX and JavaScript.

Related Coverage:

Review: Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, And Other Browsers In Four-Way Shootout
Four tech experts battle over which is the best browser--IE7, Firefox, Opera, or Maxthon. We take you on a visual tour of each, then let you make the call.


3. Breaking News

Google Upgrades Desktop Software
In moves that "amount to a new operating system," according to a Gartner analyst, the company is introducing a different way of organizing, finding, and sharing information.

Microsoft Hints At Dec. 1 For Windows Vista Launch
Microsoft drops clues in a guess-the-launch-date game aimed at software developers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Federal And State Governments Look Into Microsoft Vista Antitrust Complaints
Several companies complain that the Vista "Welcome Center" presents commercial offers from partners and/or the hardware maker.

Microsoft Unveils New Firewall, Web-Filtering Software
Microsoft rolled out public beta of its ISA 2006 firewall, software to protect against viruses, spyware, and other infections, as well as other security products.

AMD Says Koreans Raided Intel Offices In Antitrust Probe
AMD says Koreans conducted "dawn raids" on Intel offices in that country; Intel says they merely "visited."

Yahoo Accused In Jailing Of Second Chinese Internet User
The portal company said it will look into charges by activists that it cooperated with Chinese police in a 2003 case that resulted in the arrest and sentencing of writer Li Zhi to eight years in prison.

RIM Unveils Plan To Keep BlackBerrys Alive
Research In Motion has filed for a patent for its workaround, part of a software update called BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition. The changes will require software updates, which will offer the same functionality and performance. It will be downloadable at a later date, if needed.

No Bad Thoughts, Please, We're BlackBerry Users
As the possible shutdown of BlackBerry E-mail service looms, some companies and individual users cope by simply denying the possibility, while others prepare for alternatives and estimate the workload required to switch their systems and users.

Internet Tops Consumer Complaints In New York State
There were more formal complaints during 2005 about Internet business than about cars, the state's attorney general said.

Sun Patches 7 Critical Java Runtime Bugs
Attackers can use the flaws in the Java Runtime Environment to read and write files on the compromised system's hard drive, or execute programs.

Boston Developing Plan For Citywide Wi-Fi
The nonprofit Boston Foundation is expected to unveil a plan next week to unwire Beantown.

India Maps Chip Strategy, Continues Talks With Intel
India is looking to encourage electronics manufacturing locally, especially semiconductors, displays, hard-disk drives, and DVDs, while continuing talks with Intel, which plans to establish a test facility.

Samsung Develops Tiny 1-Gbyte Memory Card--World's Fastest
Designed for cell phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players, the card writes at 7.12 Mbytes per second, 3.5 times as fast as other micro cards.

All our latest news

Watch More News

In the current episode:

John Soat "Can't Get Enough"

Paul Kapustka: "Is VoIP Worth It?"

Ivan Schneider: "Bank Security: The Movie"


4. Grab Bag: DVDs, Vista Antitrust, Collegiate Podcasting

Sony Pictures Prices High-Definition DVDs (Houston Chronicle)
Sony Pictures became the first studio to say how much it will charge for films released on the next-generation DVD format.

U.S. Assessing Windows Vista Antitrust Concerns (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
Antitrust concerns have been raised over aspects of Windows Vista, the next version of the operating system, according to a report Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department and the states that participated in Microsoft's U.S. antitrust settlement.

Apple Moves Into University Podcasts (Financial Times)
Apple Computer has introduced a free service that enables colleges and universities to put course lectures and other learning materials online using Apple's iTunes software.


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

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InformationWeek.com's latest service is automated E-mail news flashes. You pick the topic and the frequency (real time, daily, or weekly), and we'll do the rest. Sign up by following the link below and be one of the first to take advantage of this latest service.

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5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech

WinZip 10 Pro: All You've Got To Do Is Zip It
With new compression algorithms and automated zip jobs, WinZip consolidates its position in the desktop data-backup market.

Review: ZoneAlarm Security Suite
Despite some glitches with downloading anti-spyware updates and a frustrating interface, ZoneAlarm provides protection that few competitors can match.

Is Application Security Training Worth the Money?
Look for training that focuses on identifying and expunging problems in the software itself.

Review: Distributed Wireless Security Monitoring Systems
Distributed wireless security monitoring systems help categorize and prioritize threats. We review two offerings from AirDefense and AirTight Networks.

Review: Comet Video Technologies' Comet 600 For Remote Security
Comet 600 pipes your video-surveillance system to your cell phone so you can keep an eye on what's happening at the office even when you're offsite.


6. Voice Of Authority: Google On The Desktop

Blog: Analyzing Google's Battle For The Dell Desktop
The Wall Street Journal has an intriguing article this week examining Google's negotiations to pay Dell to get space on Dell PC desktops, citing anonymous sources and noting that the negotiations could yet fall apart. The Journal's anonymous source says Google could pay a figure approaching $1 billion over three years, Chris Murphy says.


7. White Papers: Single Sign-On

Putting An End To The Password-Management Nightmare
Password protection is inherently insecure, leaving your network vulnerable to attack. In this informative paper you will learn how single-sign-on solutions can help assure heightened security and compliance, reduce administrative complexity and costs, and improve the end-user experience.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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