Your memory might fail, but Google’s does not. Google with the Google Dashboard they launched last year, is better than your Facebook fiend (is true!). A one stop shop to see how much Google really knows about you, Dashboard represents Capital G’s acknowledgment of privacy concerns, even if they totally messed up your Buzz experience in the early days of the social-sharing network.
The Google Dashboard was hailed as a giant step towards transparency by a corporate tycoon, a segment not too famous for the quality, and hey we still buy it. Google does give a s**t. Google Dashboard is a collection of information that Google has collected about you from your online browsing in the last 11 years.
What is Google Dashboard?
It is a web page with an organized view of the data, which one used through any one of Google’s numerous services. This varies from Gmail to Google calender. Is also has a list of all the services provided by Google that a user had subscribed to.
The services or products a user has used even once, but has not touched for years, also form a part of account information. It seems like a smart way to remind people of all the Google services they ever used, and arouse their interest in them again.
Control in user’s hands
Every action has a date and time stamp. Above 90 percent of the information on the Dashboard is private, otherwise Google has a crowd icon suggesting its public nature. But the best part remains the control users have over their own information. One can delete any history that one wants to, anytime.
It also ensures privacy by asking one’s user name and password even if a user is already logged in. Considering the private and sensitive nature of information, this only seems fair.
According to Google representatives, “ In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we’ve built the Google Dashboard. Designed to be simple and useful, the Dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use (when signed in to your account) and provides you direct links to control your personal settings.”
The dashboard covers around 20 products and services of Google, which include Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts, Latitude etc.
The fascinating aspect of the project is the organized and detailed way in which information is presented. Google is the first internet company to offer this kind of a service in the name of transparency.
Does Google know too much?
Well, duh! It does. Facebook does too. It’s just that Facebook would rather sell off your information to the highest bidder. There are worries doing the rounds suggesting that maybe Google knows way too much. Not that they will be secretly leaking information, but its disconcerting to know that an internet company knows not only where one lives (through Latitude), but also what one is interested in (Google Search), who one talks to(Gtalk), what one shops for, and even where one plans to go for a holiday and when.
Our search history itself is evident of our choices and liking, and combined with the other services one uses, the impact on one’s sense of privacy is significant.