Google this week unveiled a new feature called Dashboard, intended to give users a way to view -- and in modest ways limit -- the breadth of information the search giant collects about our online lives.
Google said it was launching the service "to provide users with greater transparency and control over their own data." The reaction from privacy experts has been mixed. Ari Schwartz, vice president and chief operating officer at the Center for Democracy & Technology, called the Dashboard offering a good first step, and one that is several steps ahead of what Google's peers in the search businesses currently offer their users.
"Google has said that they want to give the user control, but this is the first time that we've really seen them organize that control over privacy sensitive information," Schwartz said.
But as others have observed, Dashboard doesn't really give users any clearer insights into what the company is doing with all of the data it collects. John Simpson, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog, said if Google really wants people to use Dashboard, the company should make it easier to find, noting that there are few links to the tool from the landing pages of any Google properties. Simpson said Google also should make it easier for users to blow away stored search and activity data across multiple Google properties with a single click.
More with screenshot in http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/11/poking_at_googles_privacy_dash.html
Cameras that make great holiday gifts
Let them start the new year with a step up in photo and video quality from a phone.