back to article New Google tool lets you PROBE YOURSELF

Google may want to silently worm its way into everything people do online: but it's now offering a tool that allows users of its services to see some of what Google sees about them. The giant advertising company said in a blog post that it will now give users the opportunity to access detailed analysis of, for example, how …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Does this tool...

    Also give you insight to what the tool itself is trying to collect and sent back to Google ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does this tool...

      I don't know if they charge for the "extra" service that you are supposed to sign up for but it looks remarkably like the scare tactics used by the credit reference agencies - you can have all this data but you might not be able to understand it, or we can just tell you if you have been compromised (for a small fee), would you like a cup of tea dear?

      1. DJ Smiley

        Re: Does this tool...

        Sorry but which google service charges users?

        Last time I checked they do the normal charge the companies and everything was pretty much free.

        Troll much? Do try harder.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Does this tool... [do Total Information Awareness?]

      Hi, ShelLuser,

      Does this answer your question ....... ..... or raise more questions?

      What has to be realised, as in remembered in metadatamining operations, is that search engines can be groomed to provide analysts a false trail for their reasonable assumptions/subjective conclusions based upon Google/search engine queries which have been carefully selected to give a certain impression, which may or may not be perfectly accurate. And the same caveat applies should browser history be a metadatamining tool available to whoever would be interested in knowing such personal information/intelligence.

  2. Wensleydale Cheese

    A grab for your telephone number?

    "[I]f you notice sign-ins from countries where you haven’t been or devices you’ve never owned, you can change your password immediately and sign up for the extra level of security provided by 2-step verification."

    That 2-step verification meaning you give them your phone number?

    No thanks.

    1. Russ.T.Starfish

      Re: A grab for your telephone number?

      It doesn't have to be your proper phone number, it could be an old one (I'm guessing)

      I assume google does not initiate a phone conversation with you to prove you are who you say you are with the phone number you provide, but just that you have to type it in.

      So fudge the last digit. You will remember that it's one digit off hopefully. but no nuisance calls.

      Or make it the phone number of your ex.

      1. McWibble

        Re: A grab for your telephone number?

        Given that they send a verification code to the number you provide (which you need to sign in on an un-authorised device), I hardly think putting an incorrect number in will help.

        And no, they don't phone you or send marketing messages. As a user of two-step verification for some time now, I can confirm that the sole purpose is to send verification codes via SMS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A grab for your telephone number?

        The 6 people who gave you thumbs down are the google fanbois that need rehab.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Rob

      Re: A grab for your telephone number?

      You can also use the 2-step app, which I have, I received a code for initial setup and after that I now use the app passcode generator when it asks me for a code.

      They will use my phone number as a last resort for authentication if the app dies, or I forget every password that I'm currently using.

    4. Jean-Luc

      Re: A grab for your telephone number?

      Oh, please. Like they could not figure it out elsewhere.

      Especially if you are a gmail user - the most frequent # in a user's outbox is likely her own, neh?

      Risk-wise, I am much more worried about some individual jerk taking over my account somehow and holding my gmail hostage than I am about Google's extra insight into my #.


  3. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    Paranoid suspicion aside, this sounds like a Good Thing to me. Greater transparency and compliance with the Data Protection Act (whereby a consumer can request a copy of all personal data held on them by a company) is good.

  4. Andrew Jones 2

    All the areas of the report have a handy question mark icon - that displays exactly what that section of the report is detailing and shy. No you don't have to pay for it. I'm unsure why people think that by viewing the report Google collect more information on you - the report is generated from information Google already has. In my case however it has caused some confusion - it says I have been logged into my account from Ireland - but I have never been to Ireland, I have 2 step auth enabled (you don't need a phone number - just the Authenticator app installed on your phone - but as I'm running Android I expect Google already had my number anyway), but I can find nowhere in the vast Google estate to see what devices are currently logged in to my account (like you can in Gmail)

  5. Wize

    Its opt-in?

    Is that an opt-in to be tracked or an opt-in to see the info they will be tracking anyway?

    1. Chris 3

      Re: Its opt-in?

      Opt-in to receive the monthly password-protected report via e-mail. Not that hard to understand really. Sounds like a decent idea and a step towards enhanced transparency, to me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its opt-in?

      Exactly what I wanted to know.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gives you a certified copy

    of what they give^H^H^H^H sell to the Government.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The plus point?

    "The tool currently reports on Gmail, search and a few other Google services, but notably offers nothing on Google+ - the company's social network."

    Of course it offers nothing on Google + because there is nothing on Google+

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if I want a one-off?

    I am immediately made uncomfortable with the "opt in for this" - does that just mean I am opting-in for the mails, or does that mean opting-in for them to begin accumulating a bunch of information they aren't already accumulating?

    If the opt-in is just for the email, how about giving me the ability to get a one-off report? Just let me go to a web page, sign in (so they know I'm me) and give me the report on me.

    If that won't work, then it sounds to me like the reason is "we need permission to track a bunch more about you to generate the report".

    1. Chris 3

      Re: What if I want a one-off?

      As noted in the story, Google's dashboard page already offers similar functionality.

  10. John Sanders

    From Google

    Dear unknown user.

    We know you exist, we can feel you, however we can not identify you.

    Would you please be so kind to tell us who you are?


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In tomorrow's news

    unfortunately the entire database was inadvertently sent to each user, instead of just their own personal data....good idea though

  12. Martin Budden Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I like it.

    I signed up for the report and it arrived a couple of minutes later. It is clear to me that all the activity in the last month is mine, which is reassuring. The report itself is well-formatted and easy to read.

    In case you are wondering: I am NOT in any way associated with Google or any other similar organisation, I just like the report, that's all.

  13. jukejoint

    I want to know if the Full Report

    will go on my Permanent Record.

  14. mhenriday

    Like Martin above,

    I signed up for the service and found the aggregated information concerning my use of my Google account - mainly Gmail - between 29 February and 27 March this year of great interest. I hope that information regarding my use of other Google products will soon be made available to me ; Google, after all, already possesses it. An excellent initiative on the part of Google !...


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