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Just How Much Does Google Know about You?

written by: Sheila Robinson•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 7/26/2011

Google is reputable for collecting personal information on Internet users. As a result, some people have been uneasy about their Internet security. The new Google Dashboard promises to give people better control of the data distributed on the web. Is it useful and safe? Take a look and decide.

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    What Does Google Know?

    Google Dashboard There has been concern about the amount of data that Google collects. They store a lot of information from you through most of your Google related accounts (that require a login). Privacy advocates have criticized how little Internet security their products provide. To address these issues, the Google Dashboard was added.This application shows you activity on every related Google account (except cookie based accounts like AdSense).

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    About the Dashboard

    Google Dashboard is a central location that displays all your active Google accounts. When you login, you can access the dashboard through the Google Account Settings link. Once you click on the Dashboard link, you can then see all of your active accounts. From here you can click on any of them to see all data that Google has stored. You can then edit, manage and adjust privacy settings to your personal preferences. However, you will need to login to each of these accounts separately.

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    What Can you Do with It?

    If you have an active Gmail account, it shows you your name, email address, number of contacts and conversations. It displays whether or not you have a public profile. When you look at your personal information, you can edit or erase any of the fields displayed. This includes your first/last name, address, zip code, country and time zone.

    For Blogger account users, Dashboard takes you directly to their website so you can adjust your privacy settings. This gives you the option to remove your email, profile, sites you view and blogs you create from being publicly displayed.

    Through Google Dashboard, iGoogle users can add or delete gadgets active on their account. These include YouTube,, Weather, Gmail and others.

    Other Google products that can be seen and activated through the Dashboard include:

    • Google Account and Profile, Docs, Web History, You Tube, Picasa, Reader, Mobile Sync, Finance, Shopping List, Orkut, Health and Friend Connect.
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    Is It Useful?

    Google Dashboard does not guarantee Internet security. Having access to all accounts in one central location is convenient, but it also makes it easier for someone to retrieve a lot of personal information about you without your knowledge. With your Google password, they may not be able to see all your information, but it may be enough to get information on your identity or use your email address for spam purposes.

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    Tips to Protect Yourself when Using Google Products

    • If you use the Dashboard, change your Google password frequently and minimize the amount of information available in your public profile (or don’t create one at all!).
    • If possible, use another email source besides Gmail.
    • Don’t turn on the “Web History” feature that keeps track of all of your Google research through their search engine.