This week Google launched a new service called Google Dashboard which can be found in the account settings in top right hand corner under "personal settings". The service is a great idea for a couple of reasons. One, it served as a reminder (at least to this user) of all the services that I had actually signed-up for from Google over the years. Which given the pace of their innovation and continuous beta approach and my propensity to try new things in the technology space was quite a few. The second reason and arguably the most important was that it offered you the link to go and manage your privacy settings from the dashboard to the services you have subscribed. This is critical and important for those customers and users that are interested in actively managing their identity at Google. Here are the reasons why!
In the world of Web 2.0, Mashups and Federation business’s are constantly stitching together different applications to provide value to customer’s and consumer’s. Organization’s need to give user’s control of their privacy setting’s to allow them to control what information they share when and where on the internet. Most user’s don’t mind providing the information or more likely are unaware of what they are sharing. This is why the Google Dashboard feature is a powerful tool for user’s to improve their security. The ability to access these privacy setting’s existed in each of the services that Google offered. However, as I mentioned above, I had forgotten about all the different services I had signed up for within Google Land. This consolidation in one spot, gave me information, power and most importantly choice in one spot making my ability to make better decisions about how my identity is managed on the internet.
Facebook has learned this lesson and has done a lot to put the power in user’s hands of controlling how applications user their information. I applaud what they have done to provide not only the tools but the education to users about what that privacy information actually means. You can join the Facebook Security Fan Page to get updates on different steps they are taking to improve the choices users have to manage their identity data. Another great step they have taken is also in the user experience they provide users in the pages that manage services and privacy by providing contextual help for users. Big improvements that contribute to better user decision making.
Click here and go check out your dashboard.