File Under: Identity, Web Services

Google Dashboard: One Service to Rule Them All

If you’ve ever wanted to see all the Google services you use — and how you’re using them — in one spot, then the new Google Dashboard is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Google Dashboard is a one-stop shop for browsing through of almost all the Google services you’re using and, by extension, shows you everything Google knows about you. The nice thing about the new dashboard is that it gives you central way to manage and control that data — change privacy settings, control sharing and limit what data Google stores about you.

Each service listed in your dashboard contains an overview of your usage and links to change any data-sharing settings, edit any associated profiles and control who can see what. For example, the Google Reader entry in the dashboard shows a summary of your feeds, starred items and followers, and includes handy links to control your sharing settings.

There’s nothing in dashboard that can’t be found within the individual services themselves, but navigating through dashboard is considerably easier than trying to do the same on a service-by-service basis.

That said, Dashboard has a few quirks. For example my dashboard says I’m sharing a photo album on Orkut, but in fact it’s just the default album associated with my Orkut account, and it doesn’t actually have an photos in it. Ditto for my Picasa account.

Dashboard doesn’t currently offer any transparency about how your data is being used by Google for advertising or user-behavior data-collection purposes. It also offers little info about how (or how long) your data is being stored. It would also be nice if the Dashboard gave you a nice link to export all your data for each Google service. Eventually we’re hoping Google’s Data Liberation Front will fix that oversight and integrate some exporting tools directly into Dashboard.

Dashboard doesn’t currently support every Google service, though it does cover the most popular tools. The big omissions are Maps and Groups, though Dashboard does at least offer links to the services it doesn’t track.

To access the new Dashboard features, just click the My Account link in any Google service and then look for the new Dashboard link. Alternately you can head directly to the new Dashboard URL:

To see Dashboard in action, check out the following video from Google:

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