Google touts privacy and transparency with Dashboard

By on November 6, 2009, 8:00 AM
Looking to alleviate growing concerns from privacy advocates around the globe, Google has launched a new service that's designed to show its users how much the search giant knows about their individual online activities. Dubbed Dashboard, the service provides information about the several Google products the account-holder might use, from which YouTube videos have been viewed to details of their Gmail conversations.

The search history tab, for example, shows the last several queries performed from that Google account. Users can simply peruse the information, adjust their privacy settings or delete some of their stored data. Google hopes that by consolidating information relative to their services in a single place people will also rediscover accounts that they had forgotten about -- I for one just closed an Orkut account that was never used.

The new service should provide users with greater transparency and control over their data. However, while much of the concern about Google's data storage practices revolves around how and what exactly the company does to analyze and profit from user information, Dashboard offers little insight into that. More details on Google Dashboard can be found in a blog entry here.

User Comments: 19

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Puiu Puiu said:

With so many products and accounts it's really nice to see everything in one location. I'll give google an thumbs up.

Too bad it doesn't exactly tell me what google does with all that data, but it's not that big a deal for me. (at least for the moment)

It would have been great if google actually told us if somebody asked for information about us, who, when, why and if it they told them anything. It might be a bit too much to ask of them.

buttus said:

This still seems a bit too "big brother" for me. For sure Google holds onto way too much of our browsing info for marketing purposes and even though I "like" their corporate image I am still leary of any company having too much of my own personal information.

zaidpirwani said:

Wow, too much information overload, even I don't know that much about myself than Google does... These were the thoughts which came to my mind when I first logged into Google Dashboard and the first thing which I did there was to delete and disable Web History (everyone knows why.. ).

A very good step in letting people know what Google knows about them, heck it will be better if all sites just told you on a simple and single webpage what information about you they have and/or collect. The public and people need to be in control fo information concerning them, not the other way around...

rgdot said:

It reminds us of what falls under the google umbrella. I think a search history is the most valuable piece of data to google and many others. Being online we all leave traces behind and while it is good that dashboard exists it is only just exists, little comfort otherwise.

jazboy said:

I was really so worried that my all information is on web with google. Its really good step taken by google for privacy. I can see now what information google has about me, update my information. I really appreciate google's this step.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

While I suppose it's convenient to discover and close old or unused accounts, I don't like the thought of Google knowing about it while I don't. The Google Machine is going to take over the world someday, mark my words.

swilllx2p said:

If thats not enough I wonder how much info our ISPs have on us over the course of using the internet. I do like this idea though at least they will show you and allow you to clean stuff up and get rid of old history etc..try asking your ISP to get rid of all your tracks and stored info on your browsing.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Countdown before MS sues Google for the "Dashboard" naming rights from their own SharePoint Dashboard product in 5, 4, 3, 2....

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Privacy issues with google are there for a long time, what will this make to comfort us users?

Guest said:

Maybe Microsoft should stop using generic names to name there products.

sql, windows, dashboard are all generic names that never should have been allowed

pioneerx01 pioneerx01 said:

That is creepy. If they have all that info who knows who else can get it once they (or we) get hacked. It is interesting to see it being done, but I do not want anyone know how much pron I look up. lol

poertner_1274 poertner_1274, secroF laicepS topShceT, said:

Just don't use google from your igoogle account page. Make sure you logout before searching.

ken777 said:

When you see it presented like this, it's a little scary seeing how many Google services I depend on and how much they know about me.

LxTrix said:

Sounds like another toolbar or desktop widget, and do we really need another one of those?

elroacho72 said:

This is going to help me. I think it's be along time coming.Thanks again google.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Thats a lot of information and as long as the info is made possible as an option I feel its def a good improvement. It says tho it has information about gmail conversations how does that work?

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Sounds like another toolbar or desktop widget, and do we really need another one of those?

You might want to read the articles so you can make a more useful, meaningful post. I'll save you the trouble though:

The dashboard lists some of the information associated with the Google services you use: your name, your email address, the number of contacts, the number of conversations in your Gmail inbox, your Google profile, the most recent entries from the web history etc. It's a long answer to the question: "What does Google know about me?".

Colonel Lance said:

One more point for Google.

gruesomeA said:

I think this is a great idea for a large company like Google. In today's modern world, it has grown increasingly difficult to keep your presonal information private. It is nice to see that Google has acknowledged this and is saying "here is what we know, you pick what you don't want us to know." Personally, I don't really care what Google does with my info as long as it is for demographic and statistical studies, which is what they seem to be doing with it. Google has a history of allowing people to chose whether they wish their information used or not, with GOOG411. Google is more interested in WHAT and HOW people are doing and saying, than they are in WHO is doing or saying what, and if it makes Google a better service provider, I say "Hey bring on the better service"

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