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Google releases Desktop 3 for Enterprise

Company recommends beta version of its desktop search application for corporations worried about security.

Google on Tuesday released the beta version of its latest desktop search application, Google Desktop 3 for Enterprise, which the company recommends for companies worried about security risks.

The enterprise version has all the functionality of the consumer version, which was released last week. But it allows network administrators to completely disable features, such as Search Across Computer. That feature, disabled by default, automatically stores copies of data on multiple computers.

Because the data travels through Google servers and is stored there for up to a month, privacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as network administrators, have complained that it could lead to the compromise of sensitive data.

Research firm Gartner called the feature an "unacceptable security risk" and urged corporations to turn it off. Even Google officials in Europe have admitted that the feature is a risk for some corporations.

"Admittedly, we're of two minds on this: On the one hand, we know that our friends on the Desktop team have gone to great lengths to protect users' data and privacy," Google wrote in a blog on its Enterprise Web site.

"On the other hand, we are the Enterprise team, and we understand that a company's data is more precious than gold--and you don't go passing your gold around. So we should point you to Google Desktop 3 for Enterprise (beta) which can put your security fears to rest," the posting said.