Working Around the EFF Google Desktop Search Boycott

By | February 17, 2006

Google’s powerful but controversial new search feature, which allows PC users to search files on remote computers, has come under heavy fire from the EFF for potential privacy violations.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocate, recently issued a stern warning to consumers about using an enhancement to Google Desktop that stores copies of the contents of their hard drives on the search company’s servers.

The EFF is urging that consumers boycott the feature called “Search Across Computers” because it makes their personal data vulnerable to government subpoenas, private litigants, and hackers. Many companies have already forbidden employees to use Google’s remote search feature for work-related files.

However, the ability to search quickly across remote computers to quickly find specific files and emails is tempting many people to try the service in spite of the warnings.

Fortunately, there is a way to utilize Google’s powerful desktop search capabilities across remote PCs without exposing the contents of your desktop to risk of unauthorized access.

In April 2005, Laplink Software announced that their web-based remote access product, Laplink Everywhere 4, now included remote Google Desktop Search functionality, allowing users to quickly retrieve files and email from distant machines. Searches can even be initiated from a handheld device such as a PDA or Smartphone.

Unlike Google’s latest remote search feature, Laplink’s remote Google Desktop Search won’t trigger EFF alarm bells. All searchable data remains safely on the remote PC. Files are retrieved using a web interface, and streamed to the local computer via an encrypted channel. Once the files are retrieved and the remote session is terminated, no trace of it remains on the local device.

Laplink Everywhere’s remote Google Desktop Search feature does not require a client or application to be installed on the device that is remotely accessing the PC, and at no time is the content of your remote PC ever stored on a server or an external location.

PC users simply need to install Laplink Everywhere and Google Desktop Search on the PCs they plan to remotely access. Using 128 bit SSL encryption technology users can log into to their PC and remotely locate, open, and even forward any file on their desktop.

“Integrating the speed and accuracy of Google Desktop Search with our award-winning browser-based remote access has proven to be a popular combination among consumers,” said Todd Rupley, SVP of Retail and Online Sales. “In light of the recent EFF warning, it’s important that consumers understand that they can get remote search functionality without sacrificing their privacy.”

PC users can learn more about Laplink Everywhere and download a trial at

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