My 5/31/09 Missoulian column
Last week, I covered a fairly new Google service called Google Profiles, which is a mix of two things: social networking and a method to gain some control on how your own personal information – or Profile – shows up in Google search results.
If you’ve used other Google services, you may already have a Google Profile reserved under your account name, but it’s not public until you flesh it out with more information. That’s because your Google Profile is linked with Google Maps and Knols accounts (Knols is a kind of Wikipedia, but for self-publishing papers and articles under your own identity), and some other Google services.
If you want to develop a Google Profile, login your account at one of the other Google services you already have and see if you can select “My Account” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. If you can, you’ll see “Create a Profile” on the next page. If not, you need to open a Profile; go to www.google.com/profiles to do that.
Once you start working with a Profile, Google will tell you if you have enough information in your Profile to make it public. You’ll need to enter contact information (your e-mail will be hidden) and verify an e-mail address other than your Google e-mail.
Profiles is brand new, and one omission I spotted is the inability to enter a middle name, or several initials, which is a holdover from Google’s e-mail service Gmail. Everyone with a fairly common surname has probably already found that you need to differentiate yourself on the Internet, so you’ll need to lump your middle name or initial in with your first name in the text box, and it will show up.
As I wrote above, your Profile is also linked with other Google services, so the information you enter in Profiles – such as resume information, biographical details, etc. – will show up in Knols and other Google services.
Of course, with any such service – be it any kind of social networking, Web site or Google Profiles – be careful what information you disclose, because anyone will be able to find it with a Web search.
However, if you fill it out and go public with a Google Profile, you’ll gain search ranking for your name, and more than likely be listed on the first page of Google search results for your name.