Bashing Google Desktop

I found this story via Mac Google Desktop... unfortunately rather intrusive.

I think much of the criticism is unjustfied. Yes, it's questionable to install an InputManager (especially since, for good reason, it's not supported in Leopard), and a Kernel Extension without telling the user, but, what are they supposed to do in the installer?

a) Make it optional? If you don't install it their product doesn't work.

b) Tell the user they want to install an InputManager and kext? That's a guaranteed phone call from my mom asking "What's an InputManager? What's a K E X T? Oh, that's all? Why is it asking me, is this unsafe?" and me having to explain that Google knows what it's doing, and just do it.

c) Don't use an InputManager or a kext? Sort of unfair since Spotlight gets to use a kext...

Here's the comment I posted on that blog. It's awaiting moderation, but I'll put it here for the record...

"Why are you surprised it installed a kernel extension? It's doing the same thing Spotlight does to get filesystem update notifications from the kernel so it can index new and changed files and know when files it has indexed are deleted.

As for the input manager, I don't know if there was another way to do what they wanted to do to get the seamless / google desktop integration, but I guess they decided that was the best way to do it.

If Google hadn't done these things their product wouldn't have been very seamless, automatic, it would have taken way more system resources to keep the index up to date and people would have complained that it bogged down their system and wasn't user-friendly enough.

No good deed goes unpunished."

Written on April 7, 2007