Google has consistently tried to battle privacy concerns regarding their tools and services. Users naturally are always skeptical about how the information that Google stores about them is being used. We, at Thoughtpick, raised the issue of privacy concerns that users have and most recently tackled this issue in the article discussing Google’s acquisition of Gizmo5.
To counteract this seasonal hailstorm of concerns, this time, Google has introduced the Google Dashboard. The Dashboard will include all the information they have about your Google accounts and offer one central location for you to manage the settings of all your Google services and accounts.
So does the dashboard deliver?
I was actually really looking forward to the Dashboard and interested in the features they will include in it: What kind of dirty little secrets does Google know about me? So when it was open for use, I excitedly went to google.com/dashboard and entered my account information to log into it and discover the much outed and unprecedented privacy central that Google is giving to me.
It is safe to say that Google has left me void of any complements to le Dashboard. This service just provides me a selection of privacy settings that are already available and accessible natively from all Google services. Yes, it is certainly convenient to have access to all those settings from one location but to be honest it was more terrifying than anything! Being hit by how much Google knows about me made me want to get into fetal position and cradle myself to sleep while repeating “Google is the good guy, Google is the good guy, Goo..”
While I was rocking myself to sleep in the fetal position, a faint thought crossed my mind. There was this saying that my teachers used to always repeat to me, it went something like “don’t put all discs in one holster” or was it eggs and baskets? By the time I realized what my mind is trying to tell me I was in a state of comatose.
Haven’t we had enough single login woes?
Not too long ago a range of email accounts have been compromised including some Gmail accounts. If an attacker acquires your Google account, he will not only have access to your emails, using the Dashboard he will have access and control over about 20 services that Google provides with a quick and easy overview of your personal information and main contacts!
Now I’m not really sure how that is going to alleviate my privacy concerns, or anyone else’s for that matter. Actually, if anything, it’s like tapping the mouth of an asthma patient to the exhaust of your call and telling him everything will be fine!
Possibly their intentions were good – I certainly hope so – Google wanted to provide an easy and accessible method for all users to have control over their own privacy. The reality is that the majority of users don’t worry about their privacy at all, and hence will probably not even access the Dashboard or use it.
The rest of the people interested in the Dashboard can be grouped into two groups. The first are the attackers who are salivating at the thought of acquiring a Google account, and intensifying their efforts to acquire one. The second group are the people who were raising those privacy concerns in the first place, cursing the day that they requested to have something similar to the Dashboard and scrambling for a way to disable that “service”.
As for me I’m still rocking in my fetal position and working on a mental checklist:
- Have a unique birth date for all services.
- Don’t ever put my actual address, state or even country on any.
- Pollute as much as I can of my personal information with junk information. The name of my best friend will be Jabba the Hut from now on!
Do you have any concerns about your privacy? What was your reaction to Google Dashboard? Will you use it? Let us hear your thoughts.