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15 February 2007

Google Toolbar Notifier

Up until recently I have totally trusted the Google brand but the bubble is at risk of bursting. The last toolbar update brought with it a spurious little program called GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe. It came with no explanation and the only reason I knew it was there was because it would keep asking to be allowed to accept a connection from the internet. I run Zone Alarm and only allow programs I fully trust or understand to have internet access and hardly any are allowed server rights. As I didn't know what it was for I kept denying it access but it would regularly ask every morning when I turned the PC on and again in the evenings around 7pm ish. Seemed very suspicious so I researched it on the internet and found a few interesting sites that suggest this program works in the background when you run Internet Explorer preventing other search engines setting themselves as your default. Apparently you can opt to turn this feature off but it doesn't fully stop this program working. I think this is a bit of a cheek by Google however, I don't run IE, I use Firefox, a much better program and I have two search engines set up as tabs one is Google and one Windows Live, although Google has always been my preferred search engine. Both work fine but Google toolbar Notifier still seems to want to talk to 'big brother'. I have now blocked it for any internet access in Zone Alarm so end of story but it has dented my faith in Google.
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