Google Desktop Beta

Google’s released a new version of their Desktop Search tool which includes a controversial "access your data anywhere" feature that requires users store their personal files on Google’s servers.

* Computer A (say, a home PC) and computer B (the one at work) both download Google Desktop, which indexes all files on the hard drives and sends text copies of Office documents (Word, Excel) and other files to Google.

* Computer B signs into Google, searches for a file on Computer A and retrieves it. Google says it only keeps the data for 30 days and will delete the files if not accessed.

While Google says users want the convenience of cross-computer file access from anywhere, privacy advocates are understandably concerned.

For (EFF attorney Fred) Von Lohmann, the reality of what’s on your computer – and potentially on Google servers – outweighs convenience. "Unless you go to the trouble of configuring Google Desktop carefully, it will cough up your tax returns, medical and financial records, and any other text files you happen to have."

Oh yeah, and Desktop 3 also supports locking down your computer so others can’t search it while you’re away, and easy "share with a friend" Sidebar info capabilities.