Google gives users keys to data on Dashboard

Google launches a new tool for users to control and administer their personal data.

Google has launched a new tool for users to control and administer their personal data. The Google Dashboard was developed in Germany and Switzerland as a portal to provide a real-time analysis of all the information Google has recorded from a logged-in user.

Director of engineering at Google Australia, Alan Noble, said the intention was to institute the greatest level of transparency possible when dealing with its users' data.

The Dashboard aggregates data from independent Google products - Gmail, documents, a user's contact book - and offers an overview of information that Google has stored with relation to each web page. A user could select an item and navigate from the Dashboard to view that product's individual privacy settings page.

"The Dashboard is like a real-time report," Mr Noble said.

He said the controls varied from product-to-product. "Gmail, for example, wouldn't be much of a product if we didn't store your emails, or your contacts for that matter," he said. Other features such as personalised search also rely on Google storing a certain amount of search data from users.

Mr Noble said Google was keen to integrate additional products into the Dashboard in the future, such as online payment system Google Checkout.

He said Google was not in talks with social networking sites such as Facebook to integrate them.

"Bringing those products into one place would be non-trivial and require a lot of industry collaboration," he said.