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Dashboard Reveals What Google Knows About You

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the born-4th-nov-8lbs-20-inches-smart dept.

Google 260

CWmike writes "Ever wonder exactly what Google knows about you? Google took a step today to answer that question with the unveiling of Google Dashboard, which is designed to let users see and control the copious amounts of data that Google has stored in its servers about them. 'Over the past 11 years, 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 said in a blog post today. 'In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we've built the Google Dashboard.' Dashboard is set up so that users can control the personal settings in each Google product that they use. Google said the tool supports more than 20 products, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Google Latitude. Consumer Watchdog said in a statement today that it applauds Google for giving users a single place to go to manage their data. But at the same tine, the group also came down hard on Google, contending that it needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data."

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Dashboard reveals what they want to (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | about 5 years ago | (#30003248)

Their dashboard simply reveals what they want you to know you keep.

Love or hate Google it would be naive to think otherwise.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003262)

This is the exact same reaction I had when I looked at the 'new' service. I already know what services I use from Google. What I really wanted to know is how much information they keep when I occasionally perform search using Google while being logged into Google or whether what info Google stores based on my ip address etc. but as you would imagine that information is no where to be found.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | about 5 years ago | (#30003350)

What I really wanted to know is how much information they keep when I occasionally perform search using Google while being logged into Google

In other words, you want to know if they're logging your porn searches ;-)

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003580)

The prison niggers are proud at this here article cause we were all taught that we didn't have brains but rather just big cocks. Now we know we have abnigger brains and we look to take white chicks up the ass. It be the best thing to run a train on a chubby low self esteem white chick, fucking her pussy and asshole all night long. It is almost as good as tapping some puerto rican ass, but that shit is tighter and when that bitch get violent (PR chicks always do) we just duct tape that mouth shut while we take turns cumming in that ass over and over. Mexican bitches be the best cause you can run up on a bitch with a fat ass in broad daylight and run a pimp train on that bitch in her anus and that immigrant husband won't do shit. When we got some gay ass niggers who want to fuck some male asshole, we just run up on a mexican man, who they gonna report. Sometimes we just abduct the bitch to our projects apartment for the week and fuck the shit out of her, until we get tired of that bitch. White bitches are more fun though, sometimes when the bitch is chubby and horny enough we just fuck her through for 2 weeks and come back in another week cause her fat ass is ready for more. Smack bitches with a 10 inch cock. I once raped this indian chick, she was mad weak, so i got my boys to run a train on her that lasted 3 days. She looked like frosty the snowman after we all got done with cumming on her. She got that shit so hard she must of spit cum for a month. I recently visted her and punched her in the face before I got inside that ass again. We be abnormal.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (5, Informative)

pwilli (1102893) | about 5 years ago | (#30003408)

"Web History" is what you were looking for. It is available at the dashboard.

It's the list of everything you searched through google when you were logged into your account, complete with dates. My backlog in there reached back to early 2007. Now I've deleted all entries and deactivated that "feature".

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003432)

I disabled it when it was first announced, but it is unreasonable to think that does anything but just make Google not show it to you. It is unreasonable to expect them to not keep those logs.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (5, Insightful)

pwilli (1102893) | about 5 years ago | (#30003462)

Of course, Google is and always will be a black box like any other company when it comes to storage of such data.

But by deleting and disabling it I at least make sure that nobody besides Google can access that information, even if they somehow find out my password.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#30003636)

And your ISP.. or anyone who has poisoned your DNS cache and is transparently proxying you.. or just about anyone who logs http-request traffic on the backbone.

Oh, and anyone who has access to your web browser history/cache.. but you knew that.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (3, Informative)

bennomatic (691188) | about 5 years ago | (#30003588)

my understanding is that they anonymize any logs that are not to be kept associated with any particular account. I don't know all the details, but they are apparently thorough enough that it's caused some consternation with some courts who have tried to subpoena logs as evidence, only to find that they couldn't get anything useful.

I don't have a link, but my recollection is that when their process was challenged (anonymizing after 30 days), they not only defended their right to do so, but also shortened the period to 15 days or some such.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (4, Interesting)

thePig (964303) | about 5 years ago | (#30003760)

Web History is extremely important to google in many ways. So I do not think they will do anything wrong with it, since it would cause people to stop using cookies.

As an example usage that I can think of, say, Suppose a person search for the text ’yyy’ in Google Search. Now, of the links he received, he reads the text associated with each link and clicks on 3 or 4 links to open in new tabs/windows. He gets the information he requires from the 3rd link, and so he closes the pages and is done with the search. Now, after a few days, he again requires the same information. He again types the text ’yyy’ in search, and now of all the links, there is a higher probability of the 3rd link being clicked first before the others, because it provided value to him earlier. The more times he searches, the higher the probability of the link being clicked. Now, by using this information, google can consider that the 3rd link in this case provided more value to the user than others. Since this is very powerful data, i.e. it is as good as user telling google that this link has given me more value than others, the page rank of that page can be increased based on this.

There are so many other scenarios that I can think of - and these are very simple scenarios, with very less implementation issues (other than stopping people trying to game google), using web history. I dont think they will misuse web history in any way because of this.

Note: I am not sure whether the method I mentioned here is used by google or not. It was just a mechanism I could think of.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (3, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | about 5 years ago | (#30003822)

"Web History" is not available on MY dashboard. No mention of it at all, no listing of it being enabled or disabled. Nothing.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | about 5 years ago | (#30003324)

Of course. In reality, Google probably knows everything about you already. Most people don't seem to mind, but it's still taboo for some reason for Google to come out and say it.

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (2, Interesting)

twostix (1277166) | about 5 years ago | (#30003508)

Even so, just looking at what's there, all in one place there's only one word for it faaaaaark.

It's like a time machine where I can look into my life for the last 3 and half years and see what my state of mind was at any point in time.

Sometimes it was not pretty, things we forget over time ey?

Also at what point did the search tracking automatically become opt-in? Last I heard it was only voluntary when did they sneak that change through?

Re: Dashboard reveals what Reptoids want to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003560)

Their dashboard simply reveals what they want you to know you keep.

Love or hate Google it would be naive to think otherwise.

Hmm.... reminds me a David Cross quote.

"How can I be paranoid if the paranoid motherfuckers who are makin' me paranoid are really out there."

Re:Dashboard reveals what they want to (5, Informative)

Sam Douglas (1106539) | about 5 years ago | (#30003564)

No, its real utility is seeing what is publicly accessible. I didn't realise my Youtube account was sharing my name (username), age and gender publicly.

How to prevent companies from collecting data... (5, Funny)

t33jster (1239616) | about 5 years ago | (#30003260)

the group also came down hard on Google, contending that it needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data.

1. I'm going to patent 'not using a company's products and services' in order to prevent them from collecting data.
2. License my fantastic invention
3. Profit!!

Re:How to prevent companies from collecting data (5, Insightful)

Slow Smurf (839532) | about 5 years ago | (#30003300)

What about Google ads(or any other tracking mechanism), or when Google buys a company that you used to use instead of Google?

It's not as simple as not using their products, unfortunately.

Re:How to prevent companies from collecting data (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003390)

Either don't visit sites that use Google's ads, or block them. It's not rocket science.

More like what Google THINKS it knows (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003268)

I would say only about 5% of my Google searches are something that pertain to me. The rest are queries to answer questions others have asked, or nonsense searches triggered by external events - random words heard on the radio, items from junk mail my uncle sends, stuff from the newspaper.

I clear my cache often, and often search for the equal and opposite of what I want to know about. Search for elder care, followed by kindergartens, then diabetes tests and discount candy bars.

Re:More like what Google THINKS it knows (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003414)

And from that I can tell you are an old diabetic pedophile looking for children, but health conscious about what candy bars you give to them.

Re:More like what Google THINKS it knows (1)

oliphaunt (124016) | about 5 years ago | (#30003444)

my kingdom for mod points- even though parent is AC it deserves to be a 5...

Re:More like what Google THINKS it knows (2, Insightful)

twostix (1277166) | about 5 years ago | (#30003524)

Looking in the Dashboard at what they "know" about for the last three years and it strikes me that it would be very easy for someone to draw some pretty outrageous conclusions about who I am, what I think and what I do.

Pray that governments never get open access to mine their database I say!

Let's add another hole. (2, Funny)

pspahn (1175617) | about 5 years ago | (#30003278)

Headline reads:
Starbucks wifi user identity stolen when rogue AP steals dashboard info.

Re:Let's add another hole. (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 5 years ago | (#30003304)

Dashboard is just a collection of all account information at one place pretty much. If someone can crack into your dashboard, they can crack anywhere gmail, picasa and get anything anyway. Dashboard in that sense is not a security hole.

Mottos (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 years ago | (#30003290)

Slashdot: New for nerds, stuff that matters

Google Dashboard: All your data are belong to us

Re:Mottos (3, Funny)

Sparx139 (1460489) | about 5 years ago | (#30003330)

Somebody set up us the google bomb.

Re:Mottos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003440)

LOL

Re:Mottos (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 years ago | (#30003710)

All your data are belong to us

TFA says "In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data"

So it looks like all somebody's data are belong to me.

Let's add a link. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003296)

Because it wasn't in the summary, https://www.google.com/dashboard/ [google.com] is Google Dashboard.

Re:Let's add a link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003308)

Not bad, all they have about me is a Security Note. I was expecting worse.

Re:Let's add a link. (5, Insightful)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | about 5 years ago | (#30003400)

Well that's annoying...one thing Google doesn't do intelligently is languages. I am logged into my account, they KNOW I speak English as a preferred language, but when I go to my iGoogle [google.com] page on my iPhone whilst I'm in Belgium it insists on displaying everything in Dutch.

That was annoying enough...but now the dashboard is doing the same, even when I visit the page from my laptop.

Google, you KNOW I speak English, stop overriding my account setting for my language with demographic data based on my IP address. When I'm traveling it doesn't make me fluent in the local language...

*slaps the company on the nose with a rolled up newspaper* Bad Google, bad bad portal!

-- Pete.

Re:Let's add a link. (5, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | about 5 years ago | (#30003456)

I know, this is total bullshit. I've been living in Germany for about 1.5 years now, I use an English-language browser, I've set everything I possibly can in Google to English, and it still constantly gives me random pages in German, like the OpenID login. What the fuck? Let me set my language in one place and then *keep it*, or recognize that if my user agent is in English, I probably want English. Overriding such things based on geography is astoundingly stupid, given the large number of travelers and expats in the world.

Belgium must be a particularly strange example...do the Walloons get Dutch too?

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | about 5 years ago | (#30003482)

Belgium must be a particularly strange example...do the Walloons get Dutch too?

I have no idea what the Walloons get, but I actually live in Brussels, which is as multi-lingual as it gets, with both French and Dutch as official languages, but with a population that is statistically more likely to understand someone speaking English than any other language. And still Google thinks that Dutch (the minority language) is the best choice to use.

-- Pete.

Re:Let's add a link. (4, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | about 5 years ago | (#30003512)

I can kind of excuse the crap job that Google has done with consolidating settings; lots of their apps were bought from other companies, and they're just starting to make the Google profile a significant thing. But what I absolutely do not get is why they (and pretty much every other website in the world) completely ignore the Accept-Language browser header, which is sent properly by every browser.

It's such an obvious bit of information to use, it requires no IP-based geolocation, there must be some reason I'm not thinking of that they don't use it. Can anybody explain?

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

spinach and eggs (1472445) | about 5 years ago | (#30003614)

Hear, hear! Thank you. It's such a relief to know I'm not alone.

As for the reason, I think there isn't a good one at all, but it's probably nothing more than ignorance (of the Accept-Language header) on the part of web developers. But that is just "what I think", with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

But maybe someone actually knows the reason and is about to enlighten us.

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

LS (57954) | about 5 years ago | (#30003798)

A lot of people use browsers a languages other than their own, for instance at work or at an internet cafe. Also, there are governmental restrictions; for instance, I think that google is required to pop up the chinese version of their site in China. Also, what if you first used a service in a browser of one language, but then switched browser languages? Should the setting be based on your first session, your settings, or based on your browser?

I get your point, it's a solvable problem, but not as simple as it first appears.

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

spinach and eggs (1472445) | about 5 years ago | (#30003592)

And still Google thinks that Dutch (the minority language) is the best choice to use.

Er... I believe it is actually the majority language. At least it was still when I left Belgium in 2005, but maybe you'd trust a web reference [wikipedia.org] more.

But yes, I wouldn't doubt if more people can speak French, simply because I believe more Flemish people learn French than Walloons learn Dutch.

Re:Let's add a link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003598)

Well I'm dutch, but I prefer my webpages in english too.
Saves me the trouble of translating badly formed semi-dutch webpages, menuoptions and whatever to back english (=basically guessing what retarded automatic translator probably saw when he came up what THAT bullshit) , and then back to understandable dutch. If that last part is nessecary, because I can understand english webpages just fine, thank you very much.

So yeah, I use a english OS, english browser, set every option to english (except I keep the metrical format, and the dutch date, time and number format). And when everything is set up, some 'smart' piece of shit program comes along and resets it all back. Same happens with automatic updates (also looking at you, firefox), it just installs the dutch update.

Grrrrr.

Re:Let's add a link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003632)

At least on my mac, changing various parts of the number/time format to Japanese causes lots of things to display in japanese. Some webpages, all QT apps, etc. I don't know of another OS that has an 'acceptable languages' list with reordering, and anything cross-platform thus ignores the one in OS X. That webpages do as well based on my time format is just baffling, however.. I suspect stupid javascript.

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 5 years ago | (#30003650)

I feel your pain.

I am in Czechia. I have set my browser to specifically take preference in English language version. I am getting czech version. I am furious.

Google insists on using czech version of interface (seriously, I Want English Interface.) and returning localized local results. (I Want Global Results).

I want google.com, not redirected to google.cz. I specifically typed .com url, how hard it is NOT to redirect?

I want top result for ubuntu search to be 'original' www.ubuntu.com not sucky www.ubuntu.cz

I want top results to point to *most* relevant (home) pages which are almost always in english, not some crappy half assed blog posts who got only to first result page because they are on .cz domain.

sigh ...

Re:Let's add a link. (2, Informative)

weeeeed (675324) | about 5 years ago | (#30003808)

1. Go to google.cz,
2. klick on "Google.com in English" (http://www.google.com/ncr)
3. ???
4. Profit!!!1 (permanent cookie)

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

tknd (979052) | about 5 years ago | (#30003510)

They seem to base it on your IP address. When I was in Japan it would come up in Japanese and it was pretty annoying. But now that I'm back in the U.S. and I want to learn Japanese it will default to English.

Eventually I figured out that you can set your homepage to "Google in English" instead of the plain google.com.

But sometimes though when you switch areas on Google it goes back to guessing your language from your IP and defaulting to something else again.

Re:Let's add a link. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003544)

"Belgium it insists on displaying everything in Dutch. "

No wonder, its because they have a common border with the bloody dutch...

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 years ago | (#30003704)

This is a problem that was solved in the very early days of the web with the "Accept-Language" header, which is supported by all browsers since at least Netscape 2.0.

Re:Let's add a link. (2, Interesting)

brentonboy (1067468) | about 5 years ago | (#30003716)

Wait... we're mad at Google for not keeping track of some personal data on you (language) and using it? I thought we were mad at Google because they *do* do that.

Re:Let's add a link. (1)

Zarhan (415465) | about 5 years ago | (#30003718)

Umm. Allow cookies from google. Go to Search Settings. Set your language preferences. They stick.

That's how I haven't seen Finnish version of Google except when browser sometimes decides to delete all cookies.

This might help... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003302)

I think you forgot something...like maybe a link to Google Dashboard?

https://www.google.com/dashboard/

Bosses around the world say 'Thank You' (2, Insightful)

that this is not und (1026860) | about 5 years ago | (#30003310)

Now there's an easy tool provided by Google to identify what employees are doing with Google-related products while on the job. You didn't think anything you did on your work computer was your private information, did you?

Re:Bosses around the world say 'Thank You' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003528)

You have to authenticate with your google account to see your data. Unless you give your boss your google password, he/she wont have access to your google dashboard.

Great! One basket for all our eggs... (1, Troll)

Wizard052 (1003511) | about 5 years ago | (#30003316)

Not to look down on the efforts made by Google to prevent attacks, but doesn't this pose a huge security risk? The payload from being able to hack into a users profile from this service would be huge...

WTF? (2, Insightful)

BodeNGE (1664379) | about 5 years ago | (#30003342)

It's asking me to login. I don't have a login to Google "services". How do I see the info that Google has on my browsing history without logging in?

Re:WTF? (1)

merrickm (1192625) | about 5 years ago | (#30003368)

If you don't have an account, how would they have any info on your browsing history? Unless they were just tracking your computer by IP address, and why would they bother? It could easily change at anytime.

Re:WTF? (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | about 5 years ago | (#30003404)

There are these new-fangled things called 'cookies', which get sent to Google every time you view one of their ads, which are on roughly 99.99% of web pages these days unless you block access to those servers.

Re:WTF? (4, Interesting)

pwilli (1102893) | about 5 years ago | (#30003448)

But it would be a even worse privacy nightmare to present someone all the data that has been collected associated to a specific cookie and/or IP address if it is not somehow verified, that the person trying to watch that information is actually the same that produced the data (e.g. the one who made the search queries).

So even if cookie or IP-specific data is stored, showing it to you is a bad idea.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003464)

That info, such as it is, is here: http://www.google.com/ads/preferences [google.com] Enjoy.

Re:WTF? (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 years ago | (#30003730)

There used to also be a page that listed your actual search history as well. I don't know if the dashboard includes that info, because I opted out of this data collection at the time it was publicised, but it certainly seems to be missing this Google Ads demographic profiling.

Re:WTF? (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 years ago | (#30003758)

The history I was talking about is listed there...

Web History: Disabled

But the demographic profiling for AdWords is not, and clearly works without Web History being enabled. AdWords is not one of the 6 additional applications that are not working with the dashboard yet either, so it seems it has been forgotten about, whether accidentally or deliberately.

Re:WTF? (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 5 years ago | (#30003412)

Cookies.

Or less likely - detection of cached images or files.

Youtube can give video suggestions based on what was watched using the browser even if an account is not created.

Window dressing (5, Insightful)

rpp3po (641313) | about 5 years ago | (#30003344)

I would have expected Slashdot to note the fact, that Google does not mention anywhere wether the presented data is even nearly complete. Without that it is just a sham, giving you the feeling of control, but possibly only touching the tip of the iceberg.

Re:Window dressing (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 years ago | (#30003452)

Having seen what they say they have on me, two thoughts come to mind: Either they are being misleading and this is just the things they feel like telling me, or they are really incompetent because the stuff they say they know about me is pretty limited (and I'm a HEAVY Google user).

Wonder which it is?

Re:Window dressing (2, Informative)

pwilli (1102893) | about 5 years ago | (#30003486)

Were you always logged into your account when you used Google? My web history contained almost everything I ever searched through Google for the last years. It only had "holes" for some weeks in between, when I e.g. started to use another computer to go online and didn't bother to check my E-Mails or do anything else that would need me to enter my credentials.

Re:Window dressing (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003778)

Having seen what they say they have on me, two thoughts come to mind: Either they are being misleading and this is just the things they feel like telling me, or they are really incompetent because the stuff they say they know about me is pretty limited (and I'm a HEAVY Google user).

I don't work at Google, but I've interned there several times, and people on SlashDot just don't have a clue when talking about Google's approach to privacy. There's well over 100 teams all doing their own separate stuff, largely unaware of what other people are doing. A few of them harvest a bunch of info from users but most don't bother, and almost nobody harvests data from one application and then passes it onto another application, unless it would be crazy not to. At least for now, Google doesn't track people anywhere near as close as Slashdotters think they do. Since they aren't interested in selling that data to other people and since they don't know how to monetize most kinds of personal data anyway, there's just way too little to gain for what is actually a pretty monumental undertaking.

Google does what it does because it's run by ordinary people with a lot of ideas and a loose management structure. There is no conspiracy, and at least for now, people on SlashDot would be shocked by how little info about you they have readily available.

Re:Window dressing (1)

M3gaBight (968603) | about 5 years ago | (#30003498)

What they have here isn't even a collection of data. It's just a tool to look over all of your preferences/settings.

Re:Window dressing (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 5 years ago | (#30003602)

At least it makes managing settings a bit easier.

Stop collecting personal data (4, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 years ago | (#30003380)

...needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data.

Um.. It's a free service, and collecting user data (most of which is anonymized) is a core feature of their ad services. Why exactly does Google need to hobble its business model again?

Re:Stop collecting personal data (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#30003620)

Just curious, has anyone ever presented any evidence that Google uses collected user data for their ad services?

I mean, you state it as if it was a fact.. it's not.

Re:Stop collecting personal data (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about 5 years ago | (#30003686)

Do a search, then do another search on another browser with a different cookie. You get very different ads.

Re:Stop collecting personal data (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#30003756)

Umm.. wouldn't just ad rotation do that?

Is that all you've got?

Re:Stop collecting personal data (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | about 5 years ago | (#30003698)

Just curious, has anyone ever presented any evidence that Google uses collected user data for their ad services?

I mean, you state it as if it was a fact.. it's not.

Has anyone ever presented evidence that Google does not use collected user data for their ad services? Has anyone ever presented some other reason for Google to be collecting data?

I suggest you remove your tinfoil hat. All it will do is focus the corporate and government mind waves and cause cranial injury.

Re:Stop collecting personal data (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#30003746)

Has anyone ever presented evidence that Google does not use collected user data for their ad services?

Assume people are out to get you until proven otherwise eh.

Has anyone ever presented some other reason for Google to be collecting data?

Ya, that's the other thing, got any evidence that they *do* collect data?

I suggest you remove your tinfoil hat. All it will do is focus the corporate and government mind waves and cause cranial injury.

Yup, that's me, requesting that people present evidence before making wild accusations, very tin foil.

Re:Stop collecting personal data (1)

houghi (78078) | about 5 years ago | (#30003728)

Gazillions of users won't bother to turn things off, so to have a few geeks from /. do it is to show they play nice.

You don't have to use Google (2, Insightful)

mmsimanga (775213) | about 5 years ago | (#30003384)

No one has to use google and when you chose to then you should be aware your data is going to be on their servers. Personally I do not enter personal information.

Control? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003402)

Interesting idea of "control". There is no way to determine this is more than just pushing buttons in a UI.
There is neither transparency and an element of verification that the functions were indeed performed, nor is there an element of validation to demonstrate the effective execution of the user selected functions.

Re:Control? (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | about 5 years ago | (#30003478)

Interesting idea of "control". There is no way to determine this is more than just pushing buttons in a UI. There is neither transparency and an element of verification that the functions were indeed performed, nor is there an element of validation to demonstrate the effective execution of the user selected functions.

And how, exactly, would you propose these missing elements?

Re:Control? (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | about 5 years ago | (#30003516)

And how, exactly, would you propose these missing elements?

*cough* What I meant was, how would you propose to implement these missing elements?

The comments on this story give me the distinct impression that no matter what Google does w.r.t. the personal data they have to store on their users, it won't be enough.

Re:Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003662)

Aren't the best and brightest working for Google.
So there's a problem. Compounded by Google's ambitions to store medical records through Google Health

On a conceptual level, they'll have to separate controlling functions from data storage and applications such as Health, Gmail. Introducing such a layer after the fact appears daunting to say the least, but then, if they want to be serious about privacy, there's no way around it.

Bleedingly obvious? (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 5 years ago | (#30003454)

But at the same tine, the group also came down hard on Google, contending that it needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data.

Don't login. Disable cookies. Any questions?

Re:Bleedingly obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003568)

EXACTLY! If you don't want Google to know anything about you THEN DON'T USE GOOGLE!

the consumer protection group needs to take a hike, it is the end users responsibility to manage their own privacy. A simple solution for preventing Google from collecting data on you is to prevent yourself from using any of Google's services!

I mean, c'mon, the services are offered for FREE as a CONVENIENCE. Next they'll be mad that we don't get complementary foot-rubs along with our free email, SHEESH!

Re:Bleedingly obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003604)

How to hide IP or MAC without extra costs?

Re:Bleedingly obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003680)

But at the same tine, the group also came down hard on Google, contending that it needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data.

Don't login. Disable cookies. Any questions?

Just one.

Do you really think people listen to reason when they're scared out of their minds about their porn searches?

Maybe Mozilla is in collusion with Google and is secretly storing my cookies, man! I delete 'em but who knows, they might be there! I just don't fucking know! FUCK!

Re:Bleedingly obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003682)

a/s/l?

Re:Bleedingly obvious? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 5 years ago | (#30003736)

Don't login. Disable cookies. Any questions?

Just one. Why is it that opt-out is never good, except when people are talking about Google?

Re:Bleedingly obvious? (1)

Virak (897071) | about 5 years ago | (#30003804)

Yes, just one. Do you think Google has never heard of IP addresses?

I WANT them to collect my data! (4, Insightful)

Bifurcati (699683) | about 5 years ago | (#30003468)

Believe it or not, Google is a free service (for the most part) supported by advertising. I love the stuff that Google does, the way they handle advertising, and the way that advertising is actually (for the first time ever on the net) actually relevant. They've never done anything to earn my mistrust, far from it. So if by giving them my search histories I can improve both their overall advertising revenue and my own browsing experience, then I am more than willing to do so.

If things ever go wrong, well, then I'll suffer the consequences. But people demanding Google stop collecting this information is just crazy talk. Yes, Google is fast becoming a necessity because of its sheer usefulness, but it's by no means crossed the line and doesn't look like it will. If you're really that worried - just don't use Gmail, Gcalendar or any of those other things. Your Google searches will still be reasonably anonymous!

Honestly, it's rubbish like this that gives privacy advocates a bad name. Fight a battle worth fighting, for cryin' out loud.

Re:I WANT them to collect my data! (4, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 5 years ago | (#30003626)

You can love google and still be worried.

Mostly because while they had no personal info leaks in past, it does not necessarily have to be so in future. You can trust google and appreciate that they use your personal info to make your web experience less painful, but you can not trust anyone who gets their dirty hands of their database...

So yeah, real concern is in there. Especially that google becomes juicier and juicier target each day.

Re:I WANT them to collect my data! (1)

Bifurcati (699683) | about 5 years ago | (#30003630)

Agreed - if Google were hacked, well, that's bad. But the same goes for anything I store on my personal computer. And while Google's a much more likely target than my lonely IP address, they're also a hundred times better equipped to come with those attacks than I am, despite my moderate geek status.

The concern is there, but the difference is that I acknowledge and accept it. These guys are calling for the destruction of Google, which, to me, is a disproportionate response.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003470)

Oh my gosh! Google has ALL my chats and email and calendar info that I uh posted there...right

It's a trap !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003494)

Is it just me, or is it ironic that they make you create an account just to view what they claim they know about you?

I block cookies and js from google, and I could swear it still manages to personalize search results. (by ip?)

useful to learn of hackings (3, Interesting)

story645 (1278106) | about 5 years ago | (#30003520)

I learned that a youtube account was registered using my email address, and that I could access the account with my gmail account. So dashboard forced me to change my email address and try to navigate youtube's awful (non-existent) reporting pages. I finally got the right page by sending an email to the wrong people. Otherwise, dashboard showed the existence of things that clicking didn't show up, and the whole thing comes across as a gimmick to get people to sign up for the google services they're not already signed up for.

delicious data (1)

hyperion2010 (1587241) | about 5 years ago | (#30003578)

I'm sure if you cooked up some algorithms you would have no trouble finding out so pretty darned interesting things about yourself, google doesnt give you those, it just gives you the raw data, which is pretty much useless by itself.

How about a link to the dashboard? (5, Informative)

seifried (12921) | about 5 years ago | (#30003584)

3 links, not a single one to the actual dashboard.

http://www.google.com/dashboard [google.com]

Re:How about a link to the dashboard? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | about 5 years ago | (#30003648)

already mentioned here
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1426399&cid=29940699 [slashdot.org]

Re:How about a link to the dashboard? (2, Insightful)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | about 5 years ago | (#30003656)

though its about a different article, but still PLS IMPLEMENT THIS - whenever possible, direct link to what the summary is about should be compulsory

Missing data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30003660)

What about the google analytics script put in the bottom on all the webpages combined with my ip? I forgot an url i visited yesterday, though google could tell me :-(

Real or Illusion? (1)

gooman (709147) | about 5 years ago | (#30003678)

I just logged in and looked at it. It seems like a very nice feature. I found it amusing that you can "remove" information.
Since none of my recent web searches are listed, the Dashboard appears to only keep track of your activity while you are logged in. Obvious, but still interesting.
I imagine most searches can be identified by an IP address. Google must keep track of that too. Linking it together seem trivial.
So the question remains: Is it real control or just the illusion of control? I guess only time will answer that question.

Easy solution (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | about 5 years ago | (#30003688)

"But at the same tine, the group also came down hard on Google, contending that it needs to give users a vehicle for stopping the company from collecting any personal data."

How about you don't use their services if you have a problem with their policy? Or don't give out (valid) personal details. How hard was that? One thing i do have to agree with is the automatic adding of contacts to my address book in GMail.

Track me not (1)

muffen (321442) | about 5 years ago | (#30003712)

I've used TrackmeNot [nyu.edu] for a long time, and today I can see why that's been a great idea!

everything (1)

z_gringo (452163) | about 5 years ago | (#30003774)

between googlemail, google calendar, google voice, igoogle, google lattitude, google talk and who knows what else, there is no getting around it. They know everything about me.

The "Softly Softly" Google Social strategy (1)

Phurge (1112105) | about 5 years ago | (#30003788)

If you haven't noticed, Google is building a social network strategy across its properties. Chat, Reader, Followers, Friends, Voice, Public Profiles, Blogger etc etc. All of these are just starting to link into one another. As opposed to to the download and spam your email address book model a la facebook, it has been a very quiet and light touch adoption path. This is just another step towards gaining user's trust and therefore adoption.
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