I have always been a huge fan of Google’s service of personal data statistics. I think my turning point, in which I completely jumped on board with their personal data tracking, was with Google’s Latitude. I had just acquired my first Android Smart-phone and took a cross country road trip from Baltimore, MD to Seattle, Washington. Google and its latitude service followed me the entire way and back to Baltimore, MD! It was awesome to recap the journey! After that I enabled every history function they offered (more on my thoughts on tracking in my conclusion of this post).
Fast forward to today and we have Google’s Account Activity Beta. The welcome page states: With Account Activity Reports you can learn what’s going on in your account, e.g. how many emails you have sent and received, how often you have searched on Google, from which countries you have logged in and how often your YouTube videos have been viewed.
Now Google made this service available March 23, 2012 and I am not quite sure how I missed it! I accidentally stumbled across the service when playing around in the account section. I quickly opted in and Google produced my first personal comprehensive report. I was absolutely impressed at the interesting data and statistics before my eyes. I was literally able to view exactly what I was doing online. It was interesting to see the days that I searched more then others. I found the days that I published blog articles were the days that I did the most searched. Directly related to me researching a topic.
Once again, Account activity has been a around for months now and is a new personal discovery. You have the option to opt in or opt out of all of these statistics. As many of us Googlers, Google is deeply integrated into my life. In the age of privacy concerns. Many of my friends and associates feel that I am giving Google too much, that I have went overboard. Well the fact is that even if I use the most basic Google services like Gmail and Search they still have my data. Whether I like it or not, data mining of my data will be had. Even if I run my Google Chrome browser in incognito mode and block cookies I in a sense will still be tracked. It is the day and age that we live in. I do not participate in criminal activities nor do I have anything to hide. So the benefits of allowing Google to track me outweighs the cons. Besides, Google tracking our habits has allow them to learn and respond. So far I think they have done a good job.
In Google We Trust…?