It’s been a while since I checked back at the sitemaps pages to see how my sites were doing, they’d all been pinging happily and Google had been checking frequently so I’d been happy to leave them be.
I visited today and found that Google have added a verification process whereby you upload an empty html document onto your site, Google find it, accept that you are authorised to have access to the site and then feed you extra info from their databanks.
I can get this overview of whether Google has problems with the pages and how they are ranked – proving that Google still buy that PR matters.
Another page shows the queries where my site has been returned as an option (top 10?) and where my site has been selected by the user. This gives me good clues about optimisation and page building – and about the topics that people actually want to read about!