This linked story from the Durham, N.C. News site discusses how police tracked a suspected murderers Google searches, which he apparently used to research killing his wife and how to dispose of her body. The single case itself is not terribly relevant to search engines, but is a clear indication of the importance of search to every aspect of our lives. Now it appears that anyone who owns a computer will have their Google searches monitored when they run afoul of the law.
It is not too far of a stretch to imagine that every police department, government agency and investigative body looking at anyone accused of crimes will check searches done by that person or company online as a routine part of forensic criminal investigation.
The ease with which a persons interests and actions can be tied to internet searches done at Google (or any search engine) is clear. It seems that Google could probably launch a criminal investigation arm tied to computer forensics and be profitably employed by law enforcement agencies. No doubt that bad guys who own computers will use them to research bad deeds in advance.
We have Google Base, Google Analytics, Google Talk, so… Google Forensic Investigations anyone?