Why Google Dashboard Scares Me

I’ve never been particularly concerned about my privacy as it relates to Google, largely because the behemoth relies heavily on its reputation to support its revenue stream. After all, if millions of internet users suddenly shunned the company’s services over privacy concerns, its primary income source, advertising, would dry up. Instead, Google’s recently-released Dashboard scares me for a different reason.

Dashboard is the search provider’s response to privacy concerns and as such, it aggregates the information stored in many of its services for review in a central location. In the case of Picasa Web Albums, its photo-sharing service, Dashboard provides statistics such as the total number of albums one has, how many are publicly-accessible, and how many photos one has stored in the service. In my case, the results were terrifying. While I knew I took a ridiculous number of photos, the extent of my ridiculousness was not clear until this week. The screenshot below illustrates my point.

Screenshot of the Picasa Web Albums section of my Google Dashboard
Screenshot of the Picasa Web Albums section of my Google Dashboard

It’s no surprise that sometime early last year, I had to buy more storage from Google. 3,690 pictures, all uploaded at full resolution, take up a lot of space. By the way, I only redacted the title of my most recent album because it is one of the ten unlisted albums; it’s full of blurry shots from my Georgia Road Trip, so there’s nothing interesting there anyway.

If you’d like to take a look at any of the 3,300+ pictures I’ve posted for public consumption, head over to http://picasaweb.google.com/ehitter.