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New Google tool lets you PROBE YOURSELF

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Google may want to silently worm its way into everything people do online: but it's now offering a tool that allows users of its services to see some of what Google sees about them.

The giant advertising company said in a blog post that it will now give users the opportunity to access detailed analysis of, for example, how much email they have sent and information about their top search queries.

Those interested in using the Account Activity tool will be required to opt-in to the feature. Google then sends out a monthly password-protected report that shows an individual's logged-in usage of some of Mountain View's vast online estate.

Google added that the tool would help users to monitor activity to make sure their accounts aren't being compromised.

It said: "[I]f you notice sign-ins from countries where you haven’t been or devices you’ve never owned, you can change your password immediately and sign up for the extra level of security provided by 2-step verification."

Google already offers its users similar products for monitoring their online activity - Google Dashboard and ad preferences manager - so it's mildly surprising to see another feature added in this area.

The tool currently reports on Gmail, search and a few other Google services, but notably offers nothing on Google+ - the company's social network.

It's noteworthy that Google feels a user opt-in is required to receive the account activity report - generally a sign that a given service or offering could generate controversy. The company didn't explain what it does with that report once it has been generated. ®

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