John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Google Dashboard Offers “Unprecedented” View of Stuff We Already Knew

google_hal9000-150x150Privacy advocates carping about the vast amounts of data Google collects about our Internet use can rest a bit easier today now that they know what the search company knows about them. This morning, Google (GOOG) rolled out Dashboard, a new service that consolidates user account information and settings for its various products onto a single page.

“In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we’ve built the Google Dashboard,” the company explained in a blog post. “Designed to be simple and useful, the Dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use (when signed in to your account) and provides you direct links to control your personal settings.”

And it does do that, offering a nice single view of all of the data associated with our Google accounts. That said, it’s not quite the extraordinary achievement Google would have us believe.

I suppose it is true that “the scale and level of detail of the Dashboard is unprecedented,” as Google claims. That said, it doesn’t offer much in the way of new information. Noticeably absent from Dashboard is any view of the cookie data Google uses to target ads. Essentially, all Dashboard does is consolidate the admin pages of the services associated with a user’s account in a single place. Convenient, yes. But does it tell us anything we didn’t already know? Or, more importantly, how Google is using that information? No.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald