I read a recent article about a security breach that has stayed with me. The article was on the Sophos site and announced that, “35 million Google profiles were already exposed on the Internet.” While I was not surprised, I couldn’t stop thinking about the scope of Google’s reach.
According to the article, a PhD student in Amsterdam created a database of 35 million Google Profiles, and while, “at first glance, the headlines might appear worrying, there’s one important thing you need to know. All of this information was already available to anyone on the Internet.”
The reason is simple. Most of us have posted or shared so much information online, and since Google has become the big brother of online searching, the question becomes, who controls the information Google has about us? Wouldn’t you want the information to be correct if you were looking for a job, visiting a bank for a loan, or going on a date?
Without viable alternatives for searching the web – altavista, askjeeves, AOL search, ask, goto, and yahoo – Google is really the only game in town. When it comes to demographic details, Spokeo assembles so much information that most of it is wrong. So, wouldn’t you want the information that Google has about you to be correct? Since the answer is yes, you have to control the information yourself, and the best way to do that is to create a Google Profile.
As added proof, when my wife joined Facebook, there were already 10 women with her name – the same first and last names. If someone searched for her, how could she guarantee that someone would find her through the clutter and others with the same first and last names? She couldn’t – so she created a Google Profile and added all of her important links to the page – which helped those links in search results when someone searched for her name.
The bottom line is, as you consider creating a Google Profile, you may be as comprehensive or as minimal as you wish. But, without a doubt, include your name, photo, gender, professional overview, and some links. Take control of your Google Profile – it actually feels empowering in this era of too little online control!