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Google 'Account Activity' Jumps Into Personal Analytics

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the you've-googled-yourself-8%-more-this-month dept.

Google 64

An anonymous reader tips news of a new feature announced by Google today: Account Activity. Writing on their official blog, Google's Andreas Tuerk said, "If you sign up, each month we’ll send you a link to a password-protected report with insights into your signed-in use of Google services. For example, my most recent Account Activity report told me that I sent 5 percent more email than the previous month and received 3 percent more. An Italian hotel was my top Gmail contact for the month. I conducted 12 percent more Google searches than in the previous month, and my top queries reflected the vacation I was planning: [rome] and [hotel]." You may remember from earlier this month that Stephen Wolfram began showing some of the extensive personal analytics data he has collected over the past 20 years.

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+1 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499157)

+1

Something married men should stay away from. (5, Funny)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499165)

I'm sure your wife would love to know that you're looking for porn 5% more this month.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (5, Funny)

SniperJoe (1984152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499309)

If I'm looking at porn 5% more a month, she damn well knows why. She should be more concerned if my porn consumption drops to 0 unexpectedly.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499385)

I'm sure your wife would love to know that you're looking for porn 5% more this month.

Pfft! Most women don't care if their guy looks at porn. They just want him to pick up after himself and not sit on the couch after work all night watching TV with his hand in a bag of potato chips. Many marriages are sexless ones, especially after kids are in the picture. So really, while they wouldn't care about their man looking at porn, they'd probably be surprised -- I mean, who has time to masturbate when you've got two screaming kids who, if left unattended for more than 2 minutes will destroy everything you own and ever loved? Nobody, that's who.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499439)

Pfft! Most women don't care if their guy looks at porn. They just want him to pick up after himself and not sit on the couch after work all night watching TV with his hand in a bag of potato chips.

Wouldn't eating salty potato chips immediately before watching pr0n lead to... discomfort?

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39501393)

I mean, who has time to masturbate when you've got two screaming kids who, if left unattended for more than 2 minutes will destroy everything you own and ever loved? Nobody, that's who.

I'm sure there are a few with that specific talent.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (1)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501627)

I have 2 kids, both of which goto: bed at 8pm (note: 2yo and 7months) when they get older I'm sure that will get moved to 9pm, than 10pm, and once they are 15ish probably midnight. However, I goto bed at 11pm~1am so I've got plenty of time, however kids have caused sex to dramatically decrease, it's not a question of time but energy.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (2)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501757)

I have 2 kids, both of which goto:

Isn't that considered harmful?

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (4, Funny)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 2 years ago | (#39503897)

Yes, Dr. Phil strongly recommends structured parenting.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (1)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39516807)

Some might even consider it abusive :). Now goto: BED;

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39506161)

both of which . . .
what species are they
or are they Quad Cores ?

goodie!! captcha: parents

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39501875)

I don't think leaving them unattended for more than 2 minutes will be a problem with most porn users.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499583)

How would that be measured? Comparing time on porn vs nonporn or just time spent on porn month to month? Or would it be an amount of bandwidth type thing? I mean, if some site starts offering higher resolution for the new ipad, that increase would be meaningless!

By the way, you're all welcome for that excuse.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499673)

It'll be even worse if she can find out what type.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499739)

Um... Anyone who is actually logged into their Google account while searching for porn is a moron.
Though it's probably smarter than using Froogle ...

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39503051)

Um... Anyone who is actually logged into their Google account while searching for porn is a moron.

Yes, but there is no way to logout really. Your browser is leaking your personal information, your IP address doesn't change when you logout, your habits are known, predictable, and that little logon button is about as useful as the interrogator turning off the tape recorder when you ask to go "off the record"... there's still a dozen other microphones in the room that are on, and he can lie as much as he want and it's legal.

Re:Something married men should stay away from. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39503887)

OK, but that's between you and google, or rather one of your "known unknowns". AFAIK google isn't offering IP analytics

Belly button contemplation (2, Insightful)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499171)

Features like this are symptomatic of a self-obsessed, narcissistic society.

Re:Belly button contemplation (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499255)

You go right ahead and use your personal analytical data to be self-absorbed. I'll use your personal analytical data (and yours, and yours, too) and mine the shit out of it to gain whatever advantage I can over you. Most probably financial advantages to start with and then political ones. Duh.

Re:Belly button contemplation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499361)

We're going to have at least an entire generation that will be unelectable to national office because of pervasive data mining. Everyone will have something that can be turned into a media circus scandal, somewhere in their Internet history.

Then, after we start to see the effects of this we'll all raise a generation of paranoid crypto-nerds and it'll all even out again.

Re:Belly button contemplation (1)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499539)

Actually, that sounds kind of fun. Just imagine all of the screaming headlines, as every candidate has to retract everything he/she has ever said or done on the internet. It will turn this depressing, slow descent into fascism into a highly amusing circus. Sure, the country won't be any better off, but it will provide infinitely more amusement (at least, to those of us sardonic types who have a dark sense of humor).

Re:Belly button contemplation (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39503389)

We're going to have at least an entire generation that will be unelectable to national office because of pervasive data mining. Everyone will have something that can be turned into a media circus scandal, somewhere in their Internet history.

Actually, that could be a good thing here in the United States.

Americans are stupid to not only expect, but actually believe that their politicians are a bunch of perfect little angels. They're fucking politicians for crying out loud. But we forget that and miss the contradiction come election time.

In a world where you know politicians are flawed from the start, people might actually care about important issues like policy, campaign bankrollers, and puppetmasters like turdblossom.

Re:Belly button contemplation (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499365)

You just know figured that out? MySpace.com should have been the start of a big clue factor for everyone. It goes downhill from there on out.

Re:Belly button contemplation (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499505)

AOL was the start of the major decline, but Delphi was a warning sign.

Re:Belly button contemplation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499557)

Yeah, but what has this got to do with me?

Re:Belly button contemplation (3, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501323)

Wow. Just wow.
I opted in with enthusiasm for the following reasons:

1. I like statistics. I work with statistics, reports, business analytics, data mining so it's well within my area of interest.
2. The report (as far as I have seen) tells me what I've done and allows me to make things more efficient.
3. It provides me with insight of how much does Google know about me. It knows a lot. Do I care? No, not really. I'm not yelling for privacy for the sake of privacy.

(that last point can lead to a really--REALLY long discussion though, so I'd better stop now before it's too late)

"Analytics" (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499179)

You're going through an awful lot of personal lubricant and we've noticed a drop in the number of text messages your Android phone has been receiving from user's we've identified as female. We've added some search suggestions to the box on the right for some singles sites in your area. -- Bro-ogle.

I've seen the future, and I think we should run.

Re:"Analytics" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499263)

Yes, run towards the future! Hey, if Google can use their analytics powers to find me a highly-compatible significant other, sure, why not.

Probably not (1)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501949)

Probably more like adverts for more *ahem* professional services

Typos (3, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499181)

Your typing was 12% better this month. Keep up the good work!

this is how it begins (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499183)

Ooo, something shiny!

Whilst the unwashed massed are entertained by this new shiny object, google is free to continue collecting and selling our personal information.

Re:this is how it begins (5, Informative)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499267)

News Flash.... Google is collecting this information whether you choose to receive it or not.

If anything, this type of service will raise user's awareness of just how much companies like Google know about you.

Re:this is how it begins (5, Informative)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499535)

Google has a strong history of not selling personal information. They use it to deliver ads, but they don't expose individual data to the advertisers.

Kids these days don't realize how much better it is. In the old days all of the top 10 ad companies would sell all your private info to to anybody. Google has changed the game and changed the level of privacy and transparency people expect in all the online services.

Re:this is how it begins (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500331)

In the old days all of the top 10 ad companies would sell all your private info to to anybody. Google has changed the game and changed the level of privacy and transparency people expect in all the online services.

By now, doesn't Google OWN the top 10 ad companies? I mean, they bought DoubleClick (probably the biggest and most notorios offender), and they have AdMob (largest presence for mobile devices, Android AND iOS), and probably own the other ad companies as well...

Re:this is how it begins (2)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39503427)

Pretty much. And the result was we live in a better, more private world thanks to it (assuming Google stays the course, of course).

Re:this is how it begins (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39503961)

Google has a strong history of not selling personal information.

More than a history. Google's privacy policy explicitly states that Google does not share personal information with third parties.

A source of new info for ads? (2)

space fountain (1897346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499197)

Just a theory, but I'd bet that Google's setting this up to give them an excuse to collect even more info about you. Then again I opted in.

Re:A source of new info for ads? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499299)

I clicked away as soon as I saw the opt-in requiring my web history, which I've specifically turned off. I wouldn't mind seeing my email usage analysed, though.

Re:A source of new info for ads? (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499855)

I opted-in, and yet my web history still says it's disabled.

Re:A source of new info for ads? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500247)

how can they collect anymore data on me. They've already got eveything possible. Now if they could just emulate me on /. then it'd be possible for them to bring to my attention the good ones and answer the damn idiots with RTFA/RTFM and such. Hell it could problably troll better them me

Re:A source of new info for ads? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500973)

Hell it could problably troll better them me

And spell a lot better too.

Just CC me the FBI copy (0, Flamebait)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499261)

Wait, what am I saying? I'm sure Google would never, ever share this kind of info with any government agency, especially without a warrant.

Re:Just CC me the FBI copy (1)

kqs (1038910) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504507)

Wait, what am I saying? I'm sure Google would never, ever share this kind of info with any government agency, especially without a warrant.

Looks like you're right: Though the Justice Department also demanded that Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online hand over similar records, Google was the only recipient that chose to fight the subpoena in court. [cnet.com]

how nice of them (-1, Troll)

Iniamyen (2440798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499271)

They have been collecting this information for some time now and selling it all to the highest bidder, and now they are giving me access to it! WOW, THANKS GOOGLE!

Re:how nice of them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499399)

Google does not sell the info, it uses it. If anything, selling info would hurt them as they lose some of their competitive advantage. They would be the buyers of such info in the greater scheme. Targeted ads with higher purchases makes advertisement much more lucrative in that they can charge more for the same number of views. Being able to show ads of exactly what you want to buy is a very important thing in order to increase the ability of how much they are able to charge companies.

So half right, they been collecting such info for a long time (for the purpose of using it to make money).

I love this. (5, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499357)

Google is in the midst of an effort to inform people about privacy. Not by saying "hey, listen up" and then dictating information to them, but by doing everything they can to get people to look at Google's own use of data and the rules they set for themselves around privacy. All those times when they kept telling us that their privacy policy had changed? Yeah, that's a part of it. Also, for those in urban envionments who take the L, T, Subway, Metro, whatever...you've probably seen the ads explaining at a high level how they use the data they collect to personalize search results. Now this is the next step: giving them the opportunity to see how analytics work in a way that is relevant to their understanding, and to their own lives.

The big problem with privacy isn't that people aren't getting it...it's that people aren't demanding it. But until they know what privacy really is (no, it's not security) and how it works, that won't change. Until they actually pay attention to what is being done with their own information, how can we expect an uproar over the abuse of it? That's what Google is up to now, and I commend them for it. They are playing a VERY forward-thinking game, and are truly acting in the best interests of the common good.

Re:I love this. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499377)

Are you kidding? Or really this stupid?

Re:I love this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499425)

yes

Re:I love this. (2)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499579)

Indeed, if I had written their part as a responsible ad company, I wouldn't have imagined it plausible for them to do so much good as they already do.

Re:I love this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499631)

Google is in the midst of an effort to inform people about privacy. Not by saying "hey, listen up" and then dictating information to them, but by doing everything they can to get people to look at Google's own use of data and the rules they set for themselves around privacy. All those times when they kept telling us that their privacy policy had changed? Yeah, that's a part of it. Also, for those in urban envionments who take the L, T, Subway, Metro, whatever...you've probably seen the ads explaining at a high level how they use the data they collect to personalize search results. Now this is the next step: giving them the opportunity to see how analytics work in a way that is relevant to their understanding, and to their own lives.

The big problem with privacy isn't that people aren't getting it...it's that people aren't demanding it. But until they know what privacy really is (no, it's not security) and how it works, that won't change. Until they actually pay attention to what is being done with their own information, how can we expect an uproar over the abuse of it? That's what Google is up to now, and I commend them for it. They are playing a VERY forward-thinking game, and are truly acting in the best interests of the common good.

hmm... I guess google reads /. too. Wonder how long it took for them to word this message just how they wanted it, before it was posted.

Re:I love this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500583)

That's B.S. It would only provide insight into their practices if they showed what they collect about you when you're NOT logged in as well.

Re:I love this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39501213)

Not by saying "hey, listen up" and then dictating information to them,

I have never opted-in or clicked 'yes' on any agreement with Google. Why are they collecting my search data?

but by doing everything they can to get people to look at Google's own use of data and the rules they set for themselves around privacy

Uh-huh.. Yeah .... a lot of good that does. Not even 1% of google users are ever going to see this website. And worse than that, when Gmail's TOS were publicly criticized for Google reading and storing private email to create secret advertisement profiles of users (which can be subpoenaed without ever informing the user), *NOTHING* changed. *NOTHING*. They continued to do whatever they want.

They are playing a VERY forward-thinking game, and are truly acting in the best interests of the common good.

Yeah, so when the shitstorm comes, they can say.. "see ! we already had some website that was never on the front page of google which told you what we were doing. Why didnt you click and see ?.. its your fault for not hiring a $300/hr lawyer to explain to you our terms of service"

I truly hope you get paid to be google's little whore on slashdot. Surely.. you cant be as retarded as you appear here.

Re:I love this. (2)

kqs (1038910) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504605)

I have never opted-in or clicked 'yes' on any agreement with Google. Why are they collecting my search data?

Because you send it to them every time you use them? Because they've always been clear about what they are collecting and how they use it? Because, as far as anyone can tell, they adhere to their policy that they collect and use data, but do not sell that data to others?

If you don't want them to collect your search data, don't use them. You can use another search provider, probably with a worse privacy policy, or you can write your own. Or use one of the many systems which use google while hiding your identity from them.

Yeah, so when the shitstorm comes, they can say.. "see ! we already had some website that was never on the front page of google which told you what we were doing. Why didnt you click and see ?.. its your fault for not hiring a $300/hr lawyer to explain to you our terms of service"

I truly hope you get paid to be google's little whore on slashdot. Surely.. you cant be as retarded as you appear here.

So, you complain loudly and bitterly about the company which shows you what they collect about you, and don't complain about companies which collect the same data but will not tell you. An interesting strategy indeed, and it's working perfectly; almost no companies try to be transparent, since the only reward is chorus of whining.

Think I'll sign up (2)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500279)

Just to see if Ghostery, Better Privacy and wise cookie management are doing the trick.

Re:Think I'll sign up (2)

bmimatt (1021295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500959)

Add https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/googlesharing/ Google Sharing - a tracking anonymizing proxy FF plugin to the list.

Re:Think I'll sign up (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501335)

Added! Thanks.

Re:Think I'll sign up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39505637)

Do you realise that the advertising industry itself is behind Ghostery [evidon.com] ?

Re:Think I'll sign up (1)

Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39508425)

Do you realise that an ethical faction of the advertising industry itself is behind Ghostery [evidon.com] ?

FTFY

Ghostery provides reports to Evidon about advertisers and data collectors, which Evidon then provides to advertising industry groups including the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Direct Marketing Association, parts of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). These agencies then use those reports to monitor how Online Behavioral Advertisers operate and, when needed, refer them to the Federal Trade Commission.

This is a great business model. Offer a free service to the benefit of consumers; Use service to monitor and analyze advertisers methodology; sell data to advertisers and report advertisers breaking the law. Granted DMA have some shitty policies, but better than no policies at all.

Re:Think I'll sign up (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511777)

That's interesting. Thanks for the information.

Now 20% duller. (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501811)

As if it wasn't dull enough the first time round, now we can get a condensed form of dull, complete with pie charts and trend graphs....

TD;WU (Too Depressing; Won't Use).

Tried it. Doesn't show much. (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39504685)

I tried it, and the report only goes back 1 month. Doesn't show much at all.
http://i.imgur.com/dEZW3.jpg [imgur.com]

Mobile Google Analytics - ebook readers, apps,etc! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39507031)

I was surprised to find out that the Kobo book reader I bought my grandfather was spying on him and sending his reading habits to Google thanks to Google's new "Mobile Analytics".

I wouldn't be quite so freaked out if it was only Kobo getting the information. ... was glad to return it to the store for a refund.

oh, and I'm not sure my grandfather was too happy when I pointed out that Google's ads served to him indicated Google thinks he needs brain exercises.

re: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/11/introducing-google-analytics-for-mobile.html

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