Mar 29, 2012

Are you going to use Google's new Account Activity feature to find out what Google knows about you?

Apparently Google has been listening to some our concerns about privacy. A more cynical person might suggest that Google wants to address folks' concerns before the "gubmint" steps in and starts regulating. Either way, they announced a new Account activity feature that will list things like how many and what kind of searches you've done while logged in, how many emails you've sent and received, where you've signed in from, etc. I think this is a good move by Google, and just like they intended, it makes me a little more conformable getting a window into how much/little of my online activity is known. How do you feel about the Account Activity feature on Google?


Heck, yeah, I'm going to use it.  Transparency is always a good thing, in my opinion.  I just opted in to get an email each time there is a new report.  It was super simple, by the way, just go to www.google.com/settings/activity and click the opt in button.  It told me that the report was being generated and would be sent to me when compiled, along with monthly updates.  About 5 minutes later I got an email and a link to my account activity.  One interesting thing for me was Google latitude, which showed visited places and had a pie chart of "how I spent my time".  Google thinks I spent 15 hours at work...which is either wildly inaccurate, or a disturbingly insightful breakdown of how much time I actually spend working (just kidding boss).

It won't change my mind that it's best to avoid Google, if possible. Duck Duck Go is a great search engine and it doesn't spy on you the way Google does.

This account activity thing is interesting, but too little and far too late. Google has lost a lot of the trust people had for them. I doubt very much whether this will help get it back.

The perception now is that Google is, indeed, evil. They are no longer a little startup company, they are a corporate behemoth that will stop at nothing to sell information to advertisers.

I no longer trust them.
Answer this