Friday, June 22, 2012

Google Drive Runs Rampant? #gafe #googleapps

Yesterday, a few colleagues made a fascinating observation--some how, Google Drive had allegedly installed itself on their Macbook Pro computers. "What?" we cried. "How is that possible?" After all, everyone knows that only spyware/malware installs itself on computers without consent of the user.

"Well, on June 16, I noticed that my computer was synching to Google Drive and it ran out of space (on the computer)."
"Yes, that happened on my computer as well," shared another colleague.

How is it possible that Google Drive installed itself, then proceeded to sync documents from GoogleDrive (formerly GoogleDocs) down to the computer, completely filling the hard drive? The only solution was to disconnect, remove the account on the computer and then delete files...if you had done that while GoogleDrive was still synching, it would have deleted the files on GoogleDrive.

As we researched the problem, I ran across this link:
You can logout of all browser sessions, even quit the browser, but the desktop application stays logged in ALWAYS. Without the desktop application having a passcode or similar security...anyone on your computer can access your ENTIRE google account (not just drive/docs).

There, the following note appears from a Google staff member:
I wanted to confirm that we do transfer credentials from Drive sync to the browser. This isn't a product bug, but rather by design and consistent with what we do for several of Google's client apps. We want to make working between Drive on your Mac/PC and your other Google products easier for you. 
The question going around in my head is, "Is it possible for GoogleDrive to install itself without user intervention on a computer where users are logged into their GoogleApps for Education account via the browser?"

This has profound implications for schools and districts using GoogleApps. Any ideas, information, or suggestions?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Anonymous said...

I've never seen evidence that Google Drive installs itself (nor does this fit in any way with Google's philosophy toward...anything), but I've seen lots of occurrences of people clicking quickly through windows and webpages without reading what they were doing.

I think a lot of less-savvy people are unclear on what Drive is, because I hear IT support people saying "Drive is the same as Docs". Then, the people who hear that see a webpage that says "Click here to install Drive!", and they click and install. They put Drive on their computer, but they don't know what they've actually done because they're still operating on the erroneously incomplete knowledge that "Drive is the same as Docs".

Miguel Guhlin said...

@Anonymous...I concur with your remarks about GoogleDrive and its usage.

The Courage to Lead