Careless in the Cloud: Google Accidentally Shares Some Docs -- Seeking Alpha The article above documents a recent security breach in the on-line Google Docs system. Google Docs allows people to create and edit documents, presentations, and spreadsheets in a manor similar to the Microsoft Office software suite. Unlike Office, the Google Docs system is free and provided through a web interface. The documents are actually stored and edited within Google's servers. That is the core of the issue.
Google provides the ability to share your documents with collaborators. In this breach, Google accidently made a number of documents available to people who were not authorized. While the fraction of documents affected was very small, it is a real wake up call. To get my documents off my computer, you need to specifically breach my computer. A breach of the Google systems could yield the sensitive documents of an enormous number of people. They are a big target. Even accidental releases like this could put huge numbers of people at risk.
This vulnerability is not specific to Google, it applies generally to any provider of cloud computing capabilities. I personally avoid cloud computing when I can because I have high security needs, and because I find that I often need to work on my documents when I am off-line. Google is starting to do a good job of addressing the second issue, but the first is going to be harder.