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Google’s new privacy dashboard makes it easier to see what Google knows about you

Google’s new privacy dashboard makes it easier to see what Google knows about you


Also: how big is an exabyte?

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Google’s user dashboard, before (left) and after
Google’s user dashboard, before (left) and after

Google will soon be rolling out design changes to its user-facing privacy and security dashboard, in an attempt to make it more touchscreen-friendly and more clear to users which Google products are storing their data.

In other words, Google is giving you a new spoon with which to scoop up the ocean of data that exists out there in the Google-sphere. But, hey: it’s the little things.

In a blog post published this morning, Google said that its main user dashboard, which launched in 2009, has been “redesigned from the ground up.” This dashboard includes tools like My Account and My Activity — which, if you haven’t used them before, I recommend using. These are the portals through which you can see all of your Google activity, delete search activity, and manage your activity across various Google products like search, Maps, and YouTube.

Google’s new privacy and security dashboard is supposed to be more touchscreen-friendly

Based on shared images, it appears as though the new dashboard is a more graphical, distilled version, with “See and manage the data in your Google account” shown as the first option, and with “Popular Google services” listed directly below it. The current version of the dashboard is mainly text-driven, with lots of sub-menus, and it requires navigating first from My Account to Personal Info & Privacy, or to My Activity in order to run a data check.

Google hasn’t said exactly when the changes will roll out yet, just that it will happen “in the coming days.”

The company also shared some numbers on how many people are using specific tools available in the dashboard. Hundreds of millions of people visit the My Account dashboard each year, and “tens of millions” of people have used Google’s Privacy Checkup, launched in 2015, to tailor their privacy settings step-by-step.

And, as a way to remind people that surely they can leave whenever they want to, Google says that more than a million people use the Takeout feature each month, which lets you export all of your personal data stored in Google services and store it elsewhere. Since Takeout launched in 2011, users have downloaded more than one exabyte of data, which is equal to approximately one billion gigabytes. I know this because I Googled it.