Google has been displaying account activity information on Gmail for some years now. The feature, available with a click on details on the service's start page, highlights the most recent sign in activity. It not only highlights the access type, e.g. browser or pop3/smtp, but also the country and IP address the sign in was made from and the date & time of the connection.
If you are from the US and suddenly spot a connection from another country, it may very well be that your account got hacked.You do not necessarily have to open the page in this case, as Google is warning you automatically when it notices unusual account activities.
The new Recent Activity feature works in a similar fashion but in a broader scope. Instead of just highlighting sign ins, it covers other areas of interest such as the creation or deletion of app passwords, the change of the account password, or changes to the account's recovery options.
You can open the Recent Activity dashboard either from this link directly, or with a click on the profile photo of the account in the header when you are on a Google property, the selection of Account, a click on Security and then finally Recent Activity.
Google displays the location the activity was recorded from on a map on the right. It is using the IP of the connection to determine the location which works well unless a proxy or virtual private network was used.
You can click on details here to display the full IP address, browser version and platform which may provide you with additional information about the legitimacy of the activity.
A button lets you change the account password right away on the page if you spot suspicious account activities.
Unlike Gmail's activity report, which lists only sign ins to Gmail, the Recent Activity report highlights sign ins from all Google products. Note though that this covers only web-based sign ins and not the retrieval of emails or other related activities.
It is a good idea to check the page regularly to make sure that no one but you got access to your account.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.