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7/8/2008
08:56 AM
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Google Offers Tool To Monitor Gmail Activity

The information Google provides includes the Gmail user's type of access (browser, mobile, POP3), IP address, date, and time.

Google on Monday began rolling out a new Gmail feature that lets users review Gmail account activity.

"Your e-mail account can contain a lot of personal information, from bank alerts to love letters -- E-mail that, I'm sure, you don't always want other people to see," said Google engineer Erwin D'Souza in a blog post. "We understand how important your Gmail accounts are to you, so we're adding a new layer of information and control. With this new feature, you can now track your recent sessions and you can also sign yourself out remotely."

Google is in the process of making the feature, which requires either Firefox or Internet Explorer 7, available to its Gmail users. In accounts where it has been enabled, information about past and concurrent Gmail sessions can be seen below the green "You are currently using X MB (X%) of your X MB" storage capacity message, which itself can be found underneath the inbox.

The feature takes the form of a message that indicates other locations where the account is active and when it was last active. A link that opens a detailed account activity window is provided.

The information listed includes the Gmail user's type of access (browser, mobile, POP3), IP address, date, and time.

Not only will this new feature improve Gmail security, but it's also likely to please law enforcement authorities. In cases where a suspect's Gmail use is an issue, investigators who might otherwise have to request or subpoena log data from Google may only need access to the Gmail account itself.

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