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Google launches privacy Dashboard service

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Google has launched a Dashboard service that's designed to show how much the search engine giant knows about its users online activities.

The service provides a summary of data associated with a specified Google account. Users gain the ability to view and manage data, which ranges from search engine queries and emails sent through Gmail through to videos viewed on YouTube, and much else besides. Users will usually have already consented to allow Google to keep tabs on their activities online, but the search engine giant's tentacles reach so far that it's tough to know how much information it holds on each of us.

Google Dashboard - which is designed to address privacy concerns over the search engine giant's propensity to catalogue data - is accessed by logging into a Google account. Surfers get a list of the number of items held on particular services (Calenders, Blogger, Shopper, Chat, Gmail etc. etc.) linking to the data repositories of these services for more detailed information.

Although the Dashboard service goes some way towards answering the question of what Google knows about our lives online, it doesn't really provide many clues about how Google uses this information. In addition, one thing not included in the run-down is cookie-based data Google collects via its huge online ad-serving business.

Even so, Google Dashboard holds a lot of potentially sensitive data, providing yet another good reason for users to use hard to guess (strong) passwords on their Gmail or other Google accounts.

More details on Google Dashboard can be found in a blog entry here. ®

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