Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Fast and efficient: update on Google's new personal KM tool

Last week I wrote about a few of Google's new offerings. I've been using the new Google desktop search tool for the past week, and I can report that it works quite well as a personal knowledge management tool.

The desktop search is fast and efficient. It integrates seamlessly with standard Google search so that for any keyword that you type into a Google search box (whether at the Google homepage, on the Google toolbar, or in the Mozilla/Firefox browser), results returned are not only Webpages but also items stored on your computer--emails, documents, copies of Web pages browsed, and so forth.

Some people have voiced privacy concerns with this, saying it might create issues if you're using a shared computer or if there is a chance other people would be using your computer. The key is that if there's a chance others might be on your work computer, don't keep anything on it that you wouldn't want public. That's a good rule to follow in general, not just with the new Google desktop search.

The results Google returns are always on target, unlike the Blinkx tool that I reviewed previously. For additional KM benefits, I could see the Google desktop search tool being extended to include what's on the computer of your work colleagues. That would in effect create a large knowledge base without the work of inputting information.

That of course brings up more privacy concerns. Perhaps there could be a feature added that would let you mark certain items as private and not to be shared. This feature exists in Furl: As you input a Webpage into your archive, you can mark it private. Then, if others subscribe to your archive, they can't see the items you've marked for-your-eyes-only.

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