|Deutsche Presse Agentur|
|Washington, March 25 :|
It's hard enough to find a file on a single computer. If, like many people these days, you use multiple computers, the problems are compounded.
You may have typed up some vital text to be included in your next business report, or written an e-mail message that contains some important information that you've now forgotten.
But which computer did you save it on? Google has come up with a way to answer the question. The latest version of the company's popular Desktop Search tool available for free (http://desktop.google.com ), provides a Search Across Computers feature that will allow you to conduct searches across all your computers while you're sitting at just one of them.
Search Across Computers, while easy to implement, comes with some caveats, however, so it's worth exploring the tool in some detail. Once you download and install Google Desktop Search, open the tool either from your Start menu or from the taskbar icon that the program installs.
Once you do, you'll see a familiar-looking browser window with the Google Desktop logo. Click the Desktop Preferences link to the right of the search box, and then click the Google Account Features tab. Scroll down, and you'll see the Search Across Computers section.
Select the checkbox that enables Search Across Computers, and type in your Google account information. If you don't have one, you can create one from this page for free. You'll need to install Google Desktop Search and enable Search Across Computers on every computer that you'd like to be able to search.
Once Search Across Computers is activated on your computers, you can use Desktop Search to locate any text-based document on any computer, regardless of whether all of the computers are turned on or off. The documents searchable include those created by office applications, e-mail, Web pages visited, and chats.
How does Google Desktop Search work this magic? Here's where things get tricky - and objectionable to some.
With Search Across Computers enabled, Google indexes and stores versions of your files remotely on its servers - that's really the only way such a feature can be implemented.
So what you're doing when you use Search Across Computers is actually conducting a Web-style search on Google's computers. Those computers just happen to have indexes of the material on all of the computers you've allowed the company access to.
Sound a bit scary? It can be, especially with concerns about how secure your data is and whether what's on your computer might ever be shared with a third party.
But personal information may not always stay out of the hands of third parties