Big changes made in a short time, but are there privacy issues at stake here?
I’m a big fan of Google’s Desktop search bar. For my money (and I’ll put it on the table, considering it’s free) it eclipses similar releases from Microsoft, Yahoo, et al. Version 2.0, however, could cause some waves.
The reason for this is because, unlike its rivals who have simply added to the number of searchable formats and tried to speed up performance, Google has taken it upon itself to begin monitoring our individual surfing habits and logging them to its database.
The snag has occurred because of an additional piece of software called Sidebar (pictured above). This comes built into version 2.0 and it automatically builds a profile of a user’s most frequently visited websites, adds them to its news lists and then regularly queries each site for news updates and delivers them to your desktop.
So far so helpful, but to do this means a little stalking from the search guru and while the company is at pains to stress: “none of your content is made accessible to Google or anyone else without your explicit permission” (believe it or not) it will no doubt become the new number one target for hackers worldwide. Do you trust all your personal details to a search engine company when the majority of us are still scarred of online banking? Download figures will soon tell us…