Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Me, Myself and I: Helping to manage your identity on the web
In recent years, it’s become easier and easier to publish information about yourself online, through powerful new platforms like social networking sites and photo sharing services. One way to manage your privacy on these sites is to decide who specifically can see this information, determining whether it is visible to just a few friends, family members or everyone on the web. But, another important decision is choosing how you are identified when you post that information. We have worked hard to build various identity options into Google products. For example, while you may want to identify yourself by name when you post an answer to a question in a forum so that readers know the response is reputable, if you upload videos about a controversial cause you may prefer to post under a pseudonym.
However, your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you -- whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update. When someone searches for your name on a search engine like Google, the results that appear are a combination of information you’ve posted and information published by others.
Today we’ve released a new tool to help make it easier to monitor your identity on the web and to provide easy access to resources describing ways to control what information is on the web. This tool, Me on the Web, appears as a section of the Google Dashboard right beneath the Account details.
Savvy web users may already have used Google Alerts to set up notifications for mentions of their name or email address in websites and news stories. If you haven’t set up alerts yet, Me on the Web makes it even easier to do so and even automatically suggests some search terms you may want to monitor.
Me on the Web also provides links to resources offering information on how to control what third-party information is posted about you on the web. These include common tips like reaching out to the webmaster of a site to ask for the content to be taken down, or publishing additional information on your own to help make less relevant websites appear farther down in search results.
This is just one of our first steps in continuing to explore ways to help make managing your identity online simpler.