Friday, November 6, 2009

Google lets users see stored account data

SAN FRANCISCO — Google on Thursday opened a window for users to see what records the Internet giant keeps regarding their activities at YouTube, Gmail, Reader and other accounts.

Dashboard summarizes data kept about use of more than 20 of the California-based firm's services, according to a blog post by Google engineer Alma Whitten, product manager Yariv Adan, and vice president Marissa Mayer.

"The Dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use and provides you direct links to control your personal settings," the message said.

"The scale and level of detail of the Dashboard is unprecedented, and we're delighted to be the first Internet company to offer this and we hope it will become the standard."

Only information shared with Google while logged into accounts at its Web properties is included in Dashboard summaries.

People can change settings or delete data, which is viewable by account owners online at

"We are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data," Adan, Mayer, and Whitten said.

Dashboard does not include information Google records without identifying accounts of users. Data kept independent of accounts includes "server logs" with details of searches, Web browser types and computer IP addresses.

Also separated from accounts is information from snippets of code called "cookies" and search activity data used to target advertising, according to Google.

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