Editor's Note: Jon D. Markman writes a weekly column for CNBC on MSN Money that is republished here on TheStreet.com. Would you give your life to Google ( GOOG)? For millions of Internet users, this question is moot. The online search company already has become the repository for two gigabytes or more of their email, photographs, IM chats and blogs. Without really thinking about it, they have allowed Google to save many of their most intimate personal conversations and digital memories on a network-attached disk drive somewhere in its unregulated, little-scrutinized Web netherworld. Now it turns out that two gigabytes might be just the tip of the iceberg, for technology circles are abuzz with rumors that the Silicon Valley goliath has plans to launch a service called Gdrive that would allow users to shelve every scrap of digital property they have, small or large, in a Google-owned data warehouse -- possibly for free. Snapped 500 photos on vacation? Save them to Gdrive. Built a 9,000-song music collection? Save it to Gdrive. Emailed love letters, did math homework, typed out a grocery list and watched the Webcast of a ball game? Save it all to Gdrive. Want to show all this stuff 40 years from now to the grandkids from your hydrogen-powered wheelchair? Log on to Gdrive. The concept of allowing Google -- or some other major Internet outfit -- to access your life is either really great or really scary, depending on how much you trust it to safeguard your secrets. To be sure, it would be convenient to have every picture and document available at the push of a search button from any computer in the world for the rest of your days and well beyond. But it would also be incredibly frightening to consider that all of your stuff is just a seven-letter password away from falling into the hands of any business rival, divorce lawyer, wayward child or identity thief.
D'oh, and Dough
I was watching an episode of "The Simpsons" with my son this weekend in which Homer finds his wife's memory chest in a closet and discovers that it holds unsettling secrets about their courtship. Hilarity ensues. But in real life, it might not be so funny if the stark reality of youthful views and indiscretions -- as opposed to hazy memories and hidden papers -- were readily available years from now.