Google cannot be trusted with confidential information

Google inadvertently released some confidential information last week – the information was in the speaker notes of a PowerPoint file posted for the Google investors meeting. Greg Linden downloaded the PowerPoint file not realising fully what it contained but as soon as he started blogging about it, it was pulled from the Google site and a sanitised pdf version was posted in its place.

What did Google have in this PowerPoint file? Amongst other gems, according to Michael Arrington on TechCrunch, slide 19 contained the following:

Store 100% of User Data

With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc).

We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS, Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today. For example: Firefox team is working on server side stored state but they want to store only URLs rather than complete web pages for storage reasons. This theme will help us make the client less important (thin client, thick server model) which suits our strength vis-a-vis Microsoft and is also of great value to the user.

As we move toward the “Store 100%� reality, the online copy of your data will become your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache. An important implication of this theme is that we can make your online copy more secure than it would be on your own machine.

Another important implication of this theme is that storing 100% of a user’s data makes each piece of data more valuable because it can be access across applications. For example: a user’s Orkut profile has more value when it’s accessible from Gmail (as addressbook), Lighthouse (as access list), etc.

Google aims to offer 100% storage for users?

Greg goes on to further point out that:

the notes to slide 14 contain revenue projections for next year, also something I didn’t notice previously. Because Google published these projections to their website, even briefly, they were forced to file a 8-K with the SEC

For those interested, Paul Kedrosky has posted a copy of the original PDF on Box.net.

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that Google’s highly secret plans to host all of our confidential information, were accidentally released on the Internet for all to see? Google can’t be trusted with their own private information – in those circumstances, how do they expect anyone would trust them with their personal data?

3 thoughts on “Google cannot be trusted with confidential information”

  1. Im not so sure about storing all of my data online. I also find it hard to dislike google. They may well have many secrets and maybe even do things that they shouldnt, but overall, so far, they have only done good. I wont be judging them too much yet.

  2. but overall, so far, they have only done good

    The people of China, to whom Google are serving censored results, might well disagree with you on that Phil.

    In the case of China they had a choice 1) Do no Evil or 2) Move into a market with vast potential for profit and do some evil – I don’t need to tell you that they chose the profitable option.

    In any case the point I was trying to make in the post was that they were careless (as opposed to evil in this case) with their own confidential data and thus shouldn’t be trusted with anyone’s private data!

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