How useful is Google’s Account Activity


Yesterday, Google launched Account Activity monitor, a justification of the company merging all your various Google accounts. It is also a way for the company to show what is happening with your account on Google. And like most things Google throws against the wall, this is just nonsense. It says nothing, reveals nothing and doesn’t really tell you much.
Not that you would learn that from the link swarm that accompanied the vaporous official blog post (nee press release.) Thank god for MIT Technology Review writer Christopher Mims, who called it a “useless pile of overdone pabulum.” The fact is that Google as a company continously fails to contextualize almost anything they do (or want to do) in human terms. Mims perfectly sums up all my sentiments.

 First off, it’s just sad that Google Plus does not even show up on this dashboard. Apparently even Google has given up on it. Moving right along, what profound insights did I gain from this dashboard? That my most e-mailed contacts are my wife, my editor and myself, in that order. Also, my most popular video uploaded to YouTube is the only one I’ve ever bothered to publicize. (It is about Steve Jobs, and you should watch it immediately.)

I would, for instance, like to know, what data Google has about me that is highly personal — the search queries, my profile and what not. And then give me one click to delete that information, as often as I want, without holding on to it without my permission. Unfortunately, not going to happen!