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Google’s mission to become a hub for all online activity has taken another step forward with the launch of a new ‘Account Activity’ tool.
The opt-in service logs actions across all Google’s products and produces a password-protected monthly report of the data.
This allows users to track how many emails they send and receive, search activity and how much time they spend logged-in from different locations.
A blog post states that knowing more about your own account activity will help people take stock of what they’re doing online and “help take steps to protect your Google account.”
At the moment it looks like Gmail, Latitude and search are the only products incorporated into the dashboard, but the post above says that more services will be added over the next few months.
This is a simple add-on to Google’s existing services, and in truth, it’s simply opening up access to data it already tracks.
After opting-in this morning I was immediately emailed a report detailing my Gmail activity dating back to February 28 of this year.
While the information isn’t particularly useful on its own, it's quite interesting from a productivty perspective and is easy to digest, so I don’t intend to opt-out.
The benefit for Google is presumably that it highlights the range of services it offers, and encourages users to sign up for others within its portfolio - including Google+.
The company’s recent focus has centred around increasing sign-ups to G+, so that it can incorporate social data into search and maps.
But the emphasis on getting users to sign in when using all Google products is bad news for website owners.
Google now encrypts search data from users that are logged in, so referrals show up in analytics as 'not provided' - making it far more difficult to improve SEO by optimising content and landing pages.
Encryption only took affect in the UK a few weeks ago, but the impact has already been noticeable.
By making it more attractive for users to be signed in through the introduction of the Account Activity service, it seems that the search giant isn’t planning to make things easier for those going against the Google grain any time soon.