Behind Big Brother’s back

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FI-Log-On-With-Larry-SchneiderDear Larry,

I heard that Google offers a service to allow you to track the information they have on file for you. Do you know anything about that?

 

F. P.

 

Dear F. P.,

The service you’re referring to is called Google Dashboard. It presents an overview of all the information you have stored within the web giant’s servers — data such as Gmail, Picasa, iGoogle, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Voice, Google Talk, information concerning your Android devices, and so forth.

The Internet’s version of “Big Brother” introduced the service by stating, “Google has focused on building innovative products for our users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, we are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data.”

Google indicated that Dashboard was set up so that users could exert some level of control over their personal and private settings within the Google universe of products. While the service is a step in the right direction, it only emphasizes that much more needs to be done in this area if Google wants to be completely upfront about what it keeps track of.

One of Google’s most popular products is its Gmail service. Dashboard presents you with a summary of how many messages you’ve composed and how many messages currently reside in your inbox, in your contacts, trash, and other folders. You can also manage your chat settings, Gmail account settings, and other personal information. While all of this information may be found within the Gmail service itself, Dashboard offers one page where this data is consolidated and in one place, making it easier to manage and edit, if necessary.

To access Dashboard, go to google.com/dashboard. Once there, log in with your Google username and password and then select from the summary of Google services presented.

 

This is Larry Schneider, logging off.

Larry Schneider is the owner of Accent on Computers, a Greenwich-based consulting firm now in its 15th year of business catering to individuals, businesses and professional offices. PC and Mac services include computer setup, training, troubleshooting, virus resolution, networking, Internet, database, and programming. Call 625-7575, visit accentoncomputers.com, or send email to larry.schneider@accentoncomputers.com.

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