David Whelan has a great article over at Forbes.com that explores the potential pitfall of Google's increasingly hungry search engine spider and its popular caching feature.

From the highly detailed divorce filings of two California executives to the salaries of employees of the National Speleological Society's, Whelan explains that seemingly private documents including personal photos, employee details and even log in information and password files are being found and indexed by Googlebot, Google's robot Web crawler.

Because Google offers a cache that stores a copy of the original Web page, simply removing the offending files from the Web is often not enough to get them pulled from Google. Google does offer ways to pull content from its index, but it can be a long and frustrating process for an individual trying to protect their personal information.

With desktop search bars working to integrate Internet searching and desktop searching, there is concern among privacy advocates that even more content will accidentally find its way into the search archives of popular engines like Google.

Whelan highlights several companies that are working to solve this problem, including a Mission Viejo, California based Internet security company named Foundstone. Foundstone offers a free tool called SiteDigger that works to identify information leaks in corporate Web sites. San Diego based Science Applications International Corp. offers a product called Open Source Monitoring that is designed to scan the Web for certain company names and trademarks.

The full text of the article is available at Forbes.com: Google Me Not
August 16, 2004

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Is Google Cache a Gossiper's Dream?