The biggest fear many people have about using Google Docs is security.
Specifically, people are scared to death that, by publishing their confidential information to some web-based server somewhere, they’ll end up sharing that information with the world.
The worldwide publication of Google Docs stolen from Twitter just made that fear a high-profile reality:
An administrative employee here at Twitter was targeted and her personal email account was hacked. From the personal account, we believe the hacker was able to gain information which allowed access to this employee’s Google Apps account which contained Docs, Calendars, and other Google Apps Twitter relies on for sharing notes, spreadsheets, ideas, financial details and more within the company.
Twitter founder Biz Stone quickly tried to protect Google Apps from blame (“This attack had nothing to do with any vulnerability in Google Apps”), but this certainly won’t help the perception that Google Apps aren’t ready for corporate primetime.
Also, the explanation likely won’t reassure everyone: The “vulnerability” in Google Apps as opposed to Microsoft Office documents is that a single ID and password can allow anyone to log into private apps from anywhere in the world.
Google has had trouble gaining traction with Google Apps beyond free usage. This hack will likely make companies that were thinking of ponying up for the premium (paid) version think twice.
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