Tag Archives: Google

Google Desktop Breaking Privacy and More ‘Good’ Things about Google

Google and Privacy

This last week, I’ve decided to install Google Desktop for Mac, as I wasn’t very satisfied with how my PDFs are indexed by Spotlight and/or Yep.

While, so far I’m pretty happy with the way Google Desktop has indexed my PDFs, I have noticed one thing that makes me feel completely unsecure about Google products!

GoogleDesktop.png

Even if I have configured Google Desktop NOT to send any statistics (see above screenshot), the firewall caught Google Desktop repeatedly attempting to connect and submit private information without my consent!

I’ll not rant about what this means, but this is a major security and privacy breach in Google Desktop.

Gmail: Multi-Inboxes

This is a brilliant idea that offers a way to have multiple ‘portlets’ on your GMail account, each configured to display mails according to specific rules.

While playing with it, I’ve noticed a couple of things:

  • the Lab feature is useful for displaying emails that are either Archived or configured to skip the Inbox. If you configure the portlets to match emails in the Inbox then things may get a bit confusing (duplication, actions, etc).
  • The sidebar display option seemed to be the most appealing configuration. Remember we are having wider, not longer screens
  • In case you categorize your emails using multiple labels or you are watching group emails (so you have real email threads), the sidebar display configuration is pretty unusable as the displayed information is unreadable (basically, the email subject is not visible)
    Picture 2.png

    Now, I am trying out the option to display the portlets underneath the main area, but so far I don’t really like it.

Offline Gmail

I suppose you’ve already read about this as it was covered by all major and not so major blogs, everybody praising it. But, I guess somebody must be reticent about it, so why not that being me.

In my opinion, the offline GMail in the current form is useless.

But let me tell you my reasons. The offline support is auto-configured, meaning that you don’t have any control on what and how it is brought for offline access. I frankly prefer to access specific emails while being offline than to read what some statistical algorithm is telling me to read.

I think there is an easy solution for it though: GMail should introduce a special Offline label that you can use to specify what emails you want for offline access. Then it can use this humanly input metadata to take offline those emails and the last X days in the Inbox. That would make Offline GMail really useful!

Google Analytics Loosing Data

While analyzing the monthly data for one of my Google Analytics accounts, I’ve noticed a 10 days gap in the collected data.

It looks like Google Analytics completely missed collecting data for that period and when trying to get some support help for this major problem in Google Analytics, the answer I’ve got back was along the lines: “Don’t complain! It is a free product!”. I’ll let you judge by yourself how I feel about it.

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Should I definitively move from Blogger?

Since I upgraded my account from Blogger 1 to Blogger 2, I have started to have problems accessing my account. Not that I have been writing a there a lot, but still it was very frustrating. Things where getting slower and slower every day and finally for the last couple of weeks I haven’t been able to access it anymore. I don’t know if anybody else has notice something in this direction.

So for now, I am creating an account on WordPress (which by the way makes things easy to migrate your blogger account) and I will try this new solution. Hopefully, I will have a better experience with it (and I must confess that so far I’ve been happy with the free offering).

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Google BDD presentation missing TestNG

I’ve been watching an excellent presentation done by Dave Astels at Google: Beyond Test Driven Development: Behavior Driven Development (hope you heard of BDD – not like in body dysmorphic disorder, but as in Dan North’s Behavior Driven Development). I know that googlers are very secretive about their work and environment, but I was kind of puzzled that nobody really mentioned TestNG when talking about better unit testing with JUnit4. Hope this is only due to the privacy policy inside Google and not because they haven’t heard of it (which would definitely be really weird).

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GMail – Don’t throw anything away

Log in to your GMail account and than logout. Just look attentively at this message paragraph: Don’t throw anything away. 2054.350xxxx megabytes (and counting). Exceptional!!!

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What should I index for you today???

I feel very sorry that I must come again to this subject but my anger has grown in the last hours. The product under discussion is indeed Google Desktop Search, and all of this just because there is a lot of movement around it. The download page states that Google Desktop Search will index for you Outlook/Outlook Express mail, AOL IM, IE, Word, Powerpoint, Excel and text. Wow… a lot of file types! Let’s see: should I index your Outlook mails? Nope… I use Mozilla. Should I index your AOL IM? Nope… I use GAIM (he he – I am gonna trick you as GAIM saves discussion as text files). Should I index your IE? Ahhh… nope again. I am using Firefox. Should I index for you Powerpoint, Excel and Word? Ahhh nope, there is no need for these as I have about 2 ppts, and maybe 10 docs. Now I guess I should ask the program: Are you able to index my mbox mails? ahhh, sorry no. Are you able to index my PDFs? ahhh, sorry no. Hmmm, I think you cannot help me. Damn, and everybody is screaming about you! What is all this buzz about???

Update: I think I have found an usage for it: index my 1GB of java sources. At least this I can take from him.

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MBox and Google Desktop Search

I will start by saying something similar to what Cedric said yesterday about Google Desktop Search: sorry to blog about it. I am only posting this to complain about the decision to scan only Outlook and Outlook Express mails. I am not very sure why this solution, but I must find a way to correct this (maybe at some later time the scanner will support this too).
For the moment I think that the only solution is to copy mbox files – which are in fact plain text files (ehhh, with some formatting indeed) – under some name with txt extension. Than you will have Google Desktop Search indexing these files too. The next step will be to find a way to refer only the mail and not the entire file (a mbox file keeps all mails in a folder). If you feel like having any ideas just let me know – I really need this.

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