Google’s Account Activity feature provides users with a password-protected record of their online transactions
Users of Google services now have the option of signing up to its Account Activity feature, which provides them with a link to a password-protected report that offers insights into their signed-in use of Google services.
It also summarises the data associated with each product they use when signed-in to their accounts.
Transparency and control
Google said the feature is designed to offer users transparency and control, and also provides links to change a user’s personal settings. Account Activity Reports show users what’s going on in their accounts each month: how much email they have sent and received, whom they are emailing most often, how often they have searched on Google, from which countries they have logged in and how often their YouTube videos have been viewed.
The company noted that data deletion at the data source, for example, in users’ Web history, will have no impact on issued reports. However, reports can be deleted at any time, the company noted in a blog post.
“Knowing more about your own account activity also can help you take steps to protect your Google Account,” wrote Google product manager Andreas Tuerk. “For example, if you notice sign-ins from countries where you haven’t been or devices you’ve never owned, you can change your password immediately and sign up for the extra level of security provided by two-step verification.”
The Account Activity Report also tells users what browsers they’ve used, authentication changes such as alternate email addresses that have been added or removed, application-specific passwords that have been added, and the number of connected sites, apps and services that have been added.
In the Google Latitude section, the feature offers information on visited places, recent trips and a breakdown of how users spend their time each week. Under the Web history section, Account Activity logs information of searches, top queries and the breakdown of search types (such as Web or images).
Illustrating how the feature works, Tuerk wrote in the post that his most recent Account Activity report told him that he sent 5 percent more email than in 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],” he said. “Over the next few months, we plan to incorporate more Google services. Meanwhile, we hope this feature helps you better understand and manage your information on Google.”
Do you know Google’s secrets? To find out, take our quiz.