Google Dashboard – see what data they’re keeping

Google are taking over the world! We’re entrusting our data with a faceless corporation!

Some people worry about that, anyway, though I’m not one of them. I think Google offer a great range of free services that greatly enhance my online life – even if sometimes I feel left out as a European.

Today Google announced on their blog a great new service that should help make people much more comfortable with using Google – Google Dashboard. This can also be found through your Google account settings. What it gives you is a single page summarizing all the Google products you use, and what is kept on them.

So, I can see how many conversations I have stored in my Gmail, how many albums in Picasa, what’s in my Google Docs and so on. It covers over 20 products, including the aforementioned, Calendar, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Talk, Reader, Alerts, Latitude and more. From here you can control all of that data too.

Perhaps the data that’s most eye opening is your search history – searching while signed in is associated with your account, and it’s all there! There’s even a calendar that shows your levels of search activity. It’s fascinating, in a narcissistic way, but even better you are put in control of it all. If you want to delete it, that’s easy. You can delete bits, or everything and “pause” history collection.

I think this Google Dashboard really makes you feel in control of your online life, and I would love to see sites like Facebook and MySpace follow suit. Cynics and conspiracy theorists probably won’t be convinced, but it certainly takes some of the wind out of their sails.

*Apparently there are some issues with data collection for Google Apps for Domains.

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