Everywhere you look online now, people are wondering about data security. Who sees your data? Who uses your data? Can you control your data? With the failed passage of SOPA in the United States and other countries also turning down similar versions, the idea of data privacy and security has been the talk of the world wide web. On the backlash of this concern, Google has introduced something called Account Activity for users.
Google Account Activity allows you to see just exactly what you do with your time with their services. This can be anything from the frequency of sending e-mails to how you spend your time searching. Google has collected an awful lot of data from you and now it wants you to see it in real time just like they can at the drop of a hat.
How to see your Google Account Activity
If you are interested in seeing your Google Account Activity, head to https://www.google.com/settings/activity.
You will have to opt-in by providing your primary Google account e-mail address and time zone.
You can also opt for e-mails to alert you when new reports are generated.
Click “Opt-in” to get started.
You will be thanked for signing up.
Google will take a few days to prepare your report, so you will have to wait for your e-mail to see just what type of Google Account Activity they have to share with you.
In the meantime, if you ever need to login to Google Account Activity, you want to open the drop-down menu associated with your account from any service. Simply click your picture.
Then, click “Account.”
Under the Accounts menu, click “Products.”
Now, click “Account Activity.”
Google will ask for you to sign in one more time to confirm you are in fact you.
Enter your password, then click “Sign in” to continue.
When you finally receive the results of your first Google Account Activity report, you want to click on the link to head to the results.
At the top of the Account Activity report, you will see what date range the data comes from.
Below that, you will have access to the first category: Account.
This will give you the details on where you have logged into Google services, what browsers you have used and what platforms you have used.
You can scroll over the Locations to see exactly which type of Internet provider you used to login, too.
The next category will be: Authentication changes.
This category lets you know when you have added or removed e-mail addresses, added application-specific passwords or what services you have recently activated. You can also hover over the applications you have added to see which ones and what date they went live.
The final category you have access to in Google Account Activity is: Gmail.
The Gmail category tells you how many e-mails you sent, received and who the most common recipients were. Under each category, Google breaks it down further to let you know on what dates you sent e-mails and how many. You can even see how many e-mails you have sent to other people by hovering over those sets of results.
If you do not want to keep your Google Account Activity report live, you can delete it at any time by clicking the trash can at the top of the screen next to the date range.
A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm the deletion. Click “Delete” to continue.
Google will then delete that Account Activity report on your behalf.
You will then have to wait another three weeks before a new Google Account Activity report is generated from your Google services statistics.
You will be e-mailed when a new report is available.
These are the basics you need to get started with Google Account Activity should you opt in and activate it for your accounts.
Is Google Account Activity necessary?
For some users, Google Account Activity might be an effective way to monitor productiveness and other factors, especially when it comes to how they use e-mail. For others, they may use Google Account Activity to ensure their accounts are secure. However, for many Google users, the amount of information available to somewhere from Account Activity might be going too far in a world where privacy, data and security seem to be the buzz words of our age. While Google Account Activity is not necessary for most users, for those that will take the data and use it for their own purposes, having access to it in a friendly and uniform way is beneficial for them.
Is Google Account Activity right for everyone? By all means no, and only be weighing the pros and cons of what you do with your time on Google will you be able to determine if opting in is worth it. If you have begun using Google Account Activity, we would love to hear how you are using it and what benefits if any you have reaped from opting in.