Google: New Account Activity Feature to Help Users Keep a Closer Eye on Their AccountsMarch 28, 2012 12:22 pm ·
As a part of its purportedly ongoing mission to “make technology so simple and intuitive that you stop thinking about it,” Google unveiled a new feature Wednesday to allow Google Account holders to see exactly how much of their web activity involves the use of one of the seemingly endless list of Google services. Simply entitled Account Activity, the new service—which made its official global debut today—will become a standard feature for all Google Accounts.
“If you sign up, each month we’ll send you a link to a password-protected report with insights into your signed-in use of Google services,” product manager Andreas Tuerk explained on the Google Official Blog. “For example, my most recent Account Activity report [see screenshot below] told me that I sent 5 percent more email than the previous month and received 3 percent more.”
This and other information is said to help users do more to protect their accounts. That is, if activities or activity levels in your monthly report appear out of the ordinary and you don’t recall, for example, accessing your account from Italy because you neither live there nor recently visited, you will know to change your login information. In such an event, Google also provides users with the option of utilizing a “2-step verification” feature (video below) as an additional means of securing a potentially compromised account.
Reacting to the Google announcement, CNET’s Charles Cooper called the move a “no-brainer,” suggesting that social networks like Twitter and Facebook won’t be able to ignore Account Activity’s effectiveness in looking out for the privacy of its users.
Liz Gannes of All Things D had a similar yet less enthusiastic reaction.
Taking Gannes’ sentiment a step further, I would argue that it may not only be too little, but the longer Google waits, it may become too late. By failing to provide a more convincing justification for its monolithic approach to Google Accounts, the more disillusioned its users are bound to become, making it only a matter of time before they start exploring alternatives.
Then again, let’s be honest. How many such alternatives actually exist?
- Google launches ‘Account Activity’, a user-insight dashboard for all your online activity (thenextweb.com)
- Google’s latest brainstorm: Analytics for the common folk (news.cnet.com)
- Google’s controversial privacy changes give birth to cross-product insights tool (venturebeat.com)
- Google dives into personal analytics with new Account Activity feature (engadget.com)