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March 30, 2012
Google Knows All, Sees All, But We Knew That
Google has a new feature called Account Activity. It’s explained in a Google Blog post. It essentially allows individuals to track their use of Google products such as searches, how many emails sent and received in a month, heaviest used contacts, top searches and the like, what browsers and platforms used, and how many views there are of my uploaded videos on YouTube. If the paranoid out there want to know more about what Google knows, then this helps. I didn’t find the statistical information very unsettling in particular, with one exception.
The fact that Google keeps track of all of this to the point of spitting it back to me is hardly surprising. What I did find as a jolt is that Google seems to track activity even when I’m not logged in to any particular Google service. I use Chrome as my primary browser, so maybe that’s the answer. I have it set to maintain my login information as a matter of convenience. However, I do not stay logged in constantly. Far from it, in fact. I discovered this more comprehensive tracking because friends occasionally use my machine (with my permission) when I’m not logged in and I notice their searches wind up in my account history list. As Arte Johnson used to say, “verrry interesting.” Individuals with Google Accounts should check their account activity from time to time. There may be other surprises in store. [MG]