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Google launches Account Activity report feature

Account ActivityGoogle today launched a new opt-in feature called the Account Activity report, which gives Google users the ability to see what they do on the wide variety of Google products. As part of the service, Google will also send out a password-protected report each month that provides “insights” into what you do while signed into Google.

The Account Activity report will include all types of analytic data about your Google products usage. For example, Google says that you’ll be able to see how much your email usage fluctuates, who your top contacts are, and other data. Users can also view the locations from which they sign into their account, which browsers they use while signed in, and even which operating systems. Data will be provided for a variety of Google products, including search.

According to Google, “knowing more about your own account activity also can help you take steps to protect your Google Account.” If, for instance, you notice that someone in Bulgaria is signing into your Google account, but you’ve never been to Bulgaria, then you’ll know when something’s amiss. You can also sign up for Google’s two-step verification, which lends added security to your Google Account.

The release of the Account Activity report feature comes less than a month after the Internet giant released a new, unified privacy policy that covers all its products. Prior to the privacy policy’s release, many criticized Google for invading user privacy by sharing the data it collects about its users across all its products. Account Activity seems to be a step in the right direction, transparency-wise. But it still leaves much to be desired. Like, for instance, telling you everything the company knows about you and your Web activity. Because of this, we wonder whether Account Activity has much, if any, real use (other than the slight security boost that we mentioned earlier).

If you want to sign up for your Account Activity report, visit: google.com/settings/activity. Please note, however, that it will take at least a few days for Google to prepare your report, so you’ll have to have a bit of patience before you’ll get the goods.