NEW YORK -- It was supposed to be a tool to help people find stuff on their hard drives. But experts are warning that Google's new search engine for computers may leave a person's personal information at risk if they use shared computers.
For example, if the index searcher is installed on computers at libraries or Internet cafes, users could find sensitive information. Such information could be teased out of e-mails that are sent or received on a shared computer, as well as Web sites, other documents that might contain passwords, conversations with doctors or pages that detail online purchases.
The Google Desktop search was released last week as a beta test phase. It automatically records e-mail read through Outlook products and pages viewed in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.
It can also track down Word, Excel and PowerPoint files stored on the computer.
A Google official said managers of shared computers should think twice about installing the software until Google is able to come up with advanced features like password protection and multiuser support.
Meantime, users of shared computers should look for a multicolored swirl in the system tray at the lower right corner of the computer desktop that indicates the software is running.
You should disable it if you don't want your movements tracked
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