Home Google Now Offers a Monthly Account Activity Report

Google Now Offers a Monthly Account Activity Report

Google just launched a new opt-in feature called Account Activity, which sends users a detailed monthly report full of analytics about their signed-in use of Google. The user receives a Web link to a password-protected report.

The report displays data like sign-in locations, browsers, platforms, changes to sign-in credentials, connected sites and apps. It also provides some personal analytics, on places one has been (for Google Latitude users), number of emails sent and received, and the volume of searches.

The Account Activity report can provide information as simple as, “I sent 5% more email this month than last month and received 8% more.” But if you check in with Google Latitude, it can also provide instructive pie charts like “How you spent your time per week: 50% at home, 35% at work, 15% out.”

Google’s business is built on collecting data about its users, and most of its recent headlines about the practice have been unfavorable. This is the flip-side of that issue. By collecting data this way, Google can provide users with early signals about whether their account has been compromised. If someone has logged into your account from a place you’ve never been or on a device you’ve never used, it’s time to change your password.

It can also help users in more holistic ways. Users spend so much time using Google services that it can tell how we’re spending a good deal of our time. That information is obviously sensitive, so Google password-protects it. But knowing how much of one’s life is spent emailing or working or searching for things is a reality check. We might not like some of the patterns we see in our personal analytics, and we might want to change our habits.

To turn on your Account Activity report, go to google.com/settings/activity.

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