launched the Google Dashboard. This new feature gives users a quick overview of the Google products they use and a slice of the data that is connected to these accounts. Google sells this as a way to enhance "transparency, choice and control," though it is important to note that none of this information is new. The dashboard simply brings all of this data together in one place and gives users an easy way to access the privacy controls in the Google services they use.Earlier this morning, Google
The dashboard lists all of the active accounts a user has on a selection of Google services. These include, among others, Google Calendar, Contacts, Docs, Finance, Picasa, Reader, YouTube and Voice. There are also still dozens of services like Google Maps, News and Book Search that don't appear in the dashboard yet.
The dashboard itself doesn't offer the ability to change any privacy settings. It links to the respective services' privacy pages where users can make changes.
It is true that, as Google puts it, the "scale and level of detail of the Dashboard is unprecedented" - Google never made something like this available before. The data that appears in the dashboard isn't really the data that Google is interested in, though. All Google really cares about is the data that it can use to show you better AdSense ads.
This Is It?
As the LA Times points out, Google's "data storage revolves around precisely how and what the company does to analyze and profit from user information." This would be interesting information to have, though it's also the data that Google is the least likely to share. Google also doesn't share information it collects about you through cookies, its server logs or its advertising programs.
It is good to see that Google makes it easier for users to see an overview of all the data they have given to Google and made public. Maybe it will come as a surprise to some people that Google knows what emails they have received and that the company keeps track of all the YouTube videos they have watched. For most users, though, the dashboard won't offer any major revelations.