This week ‘Google Me’ was launched - your own Google profile which will be displayed in Google’s main search results. According to Google the aim is to improve their people search results, “We already are a people search engine, in that people search for people all the time on Google, so we’re trying to improve it,” said Joe Kraus, a director of product management at Google. A “Profile Results” section will appear at the bottom of a search page, where up to four profiles will be shown. You can tie your Google profile into your other online accounts and provide lots of useful and interesting information.
But is this any different to setting up a social networking profile in Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin for example? These social networking profiles already have all this information and you have more control over who sees them. Google Me allows you to choose who can view your contact information but any other information you provide can be accessed by anyone - anything you’re not comfortable sharing with the world, don’t include on your Google profile!
Although a Google profile provides an opportunity for you to add more information about yourself it does not remove any information already online. Google Me profiles will appear at the bottom of the search results page so although it gives you some control over what people can find out about you, it doesn’t replace any negative information displayed in the top 10 Google search results. The only really effective way to manage your online reputation is to respond to any negative comments about you online and optimise the positive information.
Google profiles do provide an opportunity for people to build their personal brand and have a say in what information is available about them in Google’s main search results but is this also another way for Google to gather personal information about us?