OK, so all that personal data doesn’t really belong to Google, but it would be nice to know how much the search giant has on us — embarrassing e-mails, search histories and all.
The company released a dashboard today that shows all the data it has from the Google products you use. That includes Gmail, Docs, Web History and YouTube among others. For example in the Gmail category, Google tells you how many e-mails you’ve sent and received and how many conversations you’ve had through its chat client.
The dashboard is also a central hub with links out to the privacy settings on all of these apps, so you can manage your personal information easily. It doesn’t include several of Google’s newer apps including Wave, along with analytics and book search.
It’s a smart move for the company as it wants to assuage growing consumer and political concern about the sheer amount of data it collects and its clout over the Internet ecosystem.
What I’d be curious about is if there are any secondary inferences about us that Google makes from this corpus of data. Based on our search history and Google Reader subscriptions, what does the company know about our general interests for advertising purposes? What adjustments has it exactly made to improve our personalized search results? That I don’t know yet.
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.