Google may soon offer a new service that rewards users for letting the company more closely monitor their usage of mobile apps. According to Engadget, the new project is internally referred to as "Mobile Meter" and "utilizes iOS and Android apps that intelligently monitor app usage and web browsing habits and send the data back to Google." To combat any potential (and understandable) privacy concerns, Engadget says the tracking will be entirely voluntary and that users will need to opt in rather than requesting to be excluded from the service.

Further, data Google takes in will reportedly be anonymized so it can't be linked to specific users. Engadget's report doesn't specify how Google intends to compensate participants for granting the company a deeper look at their mobile habits. Google already collects a sizable amount of data from Android users — with permission, of course. And the company last year rolled out Account Activity, an in-depth analytics tool that lets you examine nearly everything you've ever done with Google's services.

Update: Google has reached out to us to clarify that this is not a new program. The company has already been conducting such analysis as part of its Screenwise market research program. More information on that is available here, and Google says that participation will remain limited to panelists who've already signed up. It seems there are no plans to extend such a program to consumers at large.