If you're confused about what Google does and doesn't know about your online activity, take heart: Google is letting you in on the secret.
Google today announced that it has created a new Account Activity feature that sends users monthly reports about what they've been doing while signed into Google services such as Google Play, Google+ and Gmail. Among other things, the monthly report will detail the number of emails you've sent and received, the number and types of searches you've conducted while signed into your Google account, the places that you've signed in from and the different platforms and operating systems you've used while signed in.
Andreas Tuerk, a Google product manager, described the new feature as something that "helps you better understand and manage your information on Google." For example, Tuerk says Account Activity can help users see if anyone has been signing into their Google accounts on locations where they don't visit or from devices they don't own, and thus give them the ability to change their password to stop unauthorized use.
The Account Activity feature is part of Google's broader effort to make sure users are more comfortable with the company's new privacy policies that allow for sharing of user data across multiple Google services. Google has maintained that these new policies will benefit users by providing them with more relevant advertising that comes from a broader variety of data on a given user's Internet behavior. Google insists that it is not selling users' data to outside parties and says that users can always sign out of their Google accounts if they don't want their searches tracked and used for personalized advertising.