Google Forcing Your Hand, Stealing Your Thumbprint


There are a few things you should know about me. I’ll knock you over for a cupcake in a jar, I still cry every time I watch that Susan Boyle video, and I really hate it when people force me into uncomfortable situations. I mean, I know none of us like it, but I think I hate it more than most. My life is already plenty uncomfortable. I don’t need others making it any worse. Especially when I know you’re just using me.

Earlier this week there was a lot of buzz about the new Google Profiles. I tried to ignore it because I find the idea of gift wrapping your online thumbprint and then hand delivering it to Google completely absurd. I mean, why would I want to do that? But people were tripping over themselves to get in and “optimize” their information. I didn’t want to get in the way.

But then Google came after me.

I’m all for Google launching these profiles under the guise that they’re “giving you control” over your name. It’s cute. It’s a very creative little scheme they’ve started so they can easily connect all your info and then do God knows what with it. Well done. However, you can’t bully and threaten me into playing your game.

Google, The Bully

I did a live vanity search this morning to see if my Outspoken bio was making any progress rising up the search results (it is) and got this.


I know the promo box has been there for a few days, but I was kind of hoping it’d go away. You know why? Because it’s hella creepy the way they’re doing this. They’re connecting MY NAME with MY SEARCH and using it against ME. Do I get that box if I do a search for someone else’s name – my brother’s, Rhea’s, various boys that I religiously stalk – no, I don’t. I only get Google whispering in my ear to try their devil cookie if I do search for me. This isn’t Say Anything and you’re not John Cusack. You can’t play your music and expect me to fall in love with you. Back off, Google.

Google, The Intimidator

It’s one thing to repeatedly ask me to try your cookie; it’s another to be holding a gun while you do it. In case you didn’t notice, you’re being FORCED into creating these profiles. Because if you don’t do it, then you don’t get to show up in their search results and you voluntarily hand over that space to someone else.

Do a search for Danny Sullivan and you already get an assortment of Dannys to choose from.


Do a search for Susan Esparza, and look, there she is.


That means I either act like a good little girl or I risk creating a reputation management issue for myself down the road. I’ve worked hard to build up content that ranks for my name, why do I lose that ranking just because someone else decided to hand over more information than I did? What you’re telling me is that I either give you everything you want or I don’t get to play. That’s not right. That’s using your power to intimidate me into doing what YOU want me to do for YOUR selfish reasons.

Calm down, Lisa, you say. You don’t have to fill out all the information. You can pick what you tell them. Well, according to Danny’s review on Search Engine Land, I really do have to fill out all the information. Because it’s “the most comprehensive” profiles that are going to appear in the results cause they’re more “trusted”. Forgive me, but I’m not looking to give Google an easily accessible thumbprint that consists of:

  • Where you live
  • Where you used to live
  • Where you went to school
  • Where you work now
  • Where you used to work
  • What you do for a living
  • Interests
  • Any fun nicknames, or you know, usernames you may be using on the Web

I have best friends that don’t know that much information about me. Facebook doesn’t have all that information about me and they’re NOT Google. Just because you throw in the occasional “what’s your super power” question, doesn’t mean you’re whimsical and my friend. You’re not. I see what you’re doing. I don’t like it.I don’t like being forced into doing things I don’t want to do. We have no idea how Google is going to use this information. We have no idea when the profiles are going to be moved from the bottom of the SERPs to the top, making it damn certain that you need to have one or you lose your brand real estate. It’s not okay for Google to force your hand.

Bad on Google for putting people in the position to either hand over their privacy or search engine prominence.

It’s funny; people joked that one day we’d all get Google barcodes. Well, there aren’t any barcodes here. Just a complete thumbprint that we’re being lined up and forced to hand over. And if you don’t hand it over willingly, watch out cause they’ll just cut off your thumb.

UPDATE: TheGypsy was kind enough to share this link with me about Google’s social user ranking system for ad targeting, which frankly, raises my concerns to all holy hell. Do not like.

Your Comments

  • George Hassan

    Lisa, way to analyze then analyze even more. But who knows you might be on to something here. I did create a google profile myself, but you almost have me second guessing it… I guess it comes down to what you said, if you don’t create a profile and you have a common name you are going to get buried at the bottom of the pile. So google is playing favs with who “walks there way”

  • Cory Williamson

    If you had a name like mine, you’d be trying as hard as you can to get your results to the top any way possible.

    Let me just say I agree completely with your post, it is quite a messy game. But type my name in Google (or don’t, because its disturbing) and you’ll see what happens when some punk kid ruins your reputation for a long time.

    Anyway, good post. You put my thoughts into words… thanks.

    (btw, its not me, you can see my picture on Twitter by following my website)

  • Skitzzo

    Lisa, while I agree they’re pushing this thing pretty hard, you don’t actually have to give them all that much info to be included in the results…. yet.

    From what I can tell, you just need to verify your name, and write a sentence about yourself. It could probably even be something like “I don’t like that Google is requiring me to input information here” and you’d be fine.

    If competition for your name heats up, that might change things but right now it really doesn’t require any information that I’d be uncomfortable sharing (or that isn’t already available out there).

  • Lisa Barone

    Skitzzo: Yeah, it’s that “yet” part that I’m talking about. I agree that right now these profiles are harmless and that just entering in a few bits of information will help you show up. But I worry about what it’s going to look like down the road and I don’t like the idea that I’m being pushed into something today with the possibility that I may really regret it down the road.

  • Chad

    I swear people in this industry will cry foul and throw temper tantrums over the smallest things.

    Google is giving you an opportunity to lock up your name as it is part of your personal brand in their SERPs, you either take the opportunity or you let someone else take it. If you’re so worried about giving Google a few more tiny pieces of your personal information, just make it up, it isn’t like they are going to verify where you live now or where you grew up.

    The “Google is so unfair” complaints that litter the blogs and twitter are getting old.

  • Lisa Barone

    Chad: Hee! That made me giggle. :)

    I’m not saying “Google’s not fair”. This isn’t a case of where my site isn’t ranked and I’m pissed. I already HAVE a personal brand. I’ve already WORKED to get my content ranking for my name. That’s the issue. I think Google is being too heavy handed getting people to offer up information in exchange for placement on the search engine. I have no problem as it stands today. But I worry that in the future this may have some serious implications that people maybe aren’t considering as they rush to optimize their Google Profiles.

    Appreciate the comment. :)

    • Aleks

      Absolutely agree with you! As dea it’s great and very useful I register at gmail then to open account in twitter or facebook it was all ready some info with my data!It’s good if I no need hide my name but what if I do? that’s first point. The second is the google collect more and more info about us and who know how whey will use such info in future? the people who have access to such info should be high morality! I’m not sure they are! I were riading how whey work with people in link advertising – not impressive!So in view of all above my opinion it’s better no than yes!

  • Dave

    Hiya Lisa – nice post. I hate to be the bearer of tin-foil or to simple bash Google for the whole evil empire as we’ve seen in the old days with Microsoft – that’s just too easy.

    What I think IS important is that all of the major players are more and more actively seeking deeper forms of behavioral targeting. As I had mentioned to you, behavioral targeting is one small step from behavioral modification. To me, in the various patents I’ve seen, this is the real issue here… beyond even privacy concerns. At what point are they literally changing the socio-evolution of the society in the name of pushing more effective monetization channels?

    Both Google and MS have social network profiling patents such as I passed along. We can add to that many years of behavioral targeting learning they’ve gained on the PPC side and it can be more than a little concerning. Computer science folks call such approaches implicit feedback – and it continues to pick up speed.

    Now, let’s get away from search and social for a few moments.. another type of patent we’ve seen from MS and Google are in the form of TV targeting. There have been an increasing number in this realm as convergence get’s tighter. So now we can add in not only your surfing habits being monitored, but TV watching as well. There are patents on using cable set-top boxes to monitor not only what you watch, but how U interact with the ads… You can just imagine where that can lead.

    Yes, the purists will say that they welcome such types of actions that will give them a more targeted media/internet experience…. but this can be short sighted. If you BELIEVE what they give you is what you want, how will you know when subtle intrusions are made? How does one know what NEW things they may have found when not being targeted? This all begs the question; will it inhibit or modify my evolution?

    I mean, MS has a patent on personalization based on bio-feedback. “Im sorry Dave – your pulse and skin temp are up – are you not happy with these search results” – Combine all of this bio-feedback with other channels of gathered data, and well… yikes! And hey, while we’re wearing tin foil, Google did purchase a company that does DNA work… guess they really do want ALL the world’s information.

    At the end of the day, too much of a good thing IMO. I am never comfortable with ANYONE having the level of data that is being gathered at break-neck speed these days with little in the way of real protection for us. Most government agencies don’t understand what is going on, never mind being able to legislate it.

    And so… the social network profiling is but another cog in a very large behavioral gathering tool..the parts may seem innocuous but the whole – well, rather troubling to me (who knew patents could be so frightening).

    ok… we can take our tin foil hats off… I’ll leave it there (could go on and on and on as ye well know)

  • Jenna

    Resistance is futile…You will be assimilated…

    I actually only mean that half jokingly. I do agree that it seems potentially troublesome down the road, but then I’ve been worried about this since I hear that gmail keeps all your messages indefinitely even after you’ve deleted them and will do with them as they see fit. Kind of like a Big Brother/HAL/Borg hybrid.

  • Kim Krause Berg

    Lisa, my feelings are mixed. Like you, my first reaction was to be pissed off at Google for the zillionth time. I’m way past the comfort zone anymore with how we’re tracked by Google (and others). And I’m typically pretty much out there and open. The good part about that open beingness stuff is that anyone who knows me or reads me for awhile will know bullcrap about me when they read it.

    For anyone new, however, something like Google Profiles offers some control over our online identity. None of the personal stuff is required. If if was, I would have had a blast making up stupid stuff for it. As it was, I treated mine like any other professional profile out there on me, such as in Linkedin. I like having that right to control that. HATE having to make the effort, but we that’s the nature of our culture.

    For those who simply live to kill me off in tiny little bits of hatred every other day (we know who that is), I got to Google first.

  • Todd Mintz

    Nobody forced you to buy your personal name as a dot com domain, and nobody forced you to secure your brand at Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn etc. You did this because you’re smart and you know the consequences of not doing it. I don’t see this as any more burdensome than what you’ve already done multiple other places.

  • Lisa Barone


    Nobody forced you to buy your personal name as a dot com domain

    That’s actually not true. That domain was purchased for me and then I was yelled at for not buying it myself. ;)

    To me the difference is that:

    1. It’s Google getting the information: They have enough. They use it for purposes I don’t like. I don’t feel the need to make it easier for them.
    2. I created those other profiles because I wanted to. Here I feel like they’re telling me that I have to or I lose my ranking. I feel bullied into complying.
  • Alysson

    Google is Google and they’ll get the information they want one way or another. Most of what is included in the Google profile is available online already, albeit from a multitude of different sources…like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Classmates, etc. My Google profile has been pretty much as it is today for some time. The only difference is that now it appears in search results. We live in a “Big Brother” world and, as much as it may suck, there’s no going back now. No matter what you do, someone is always watching, tracking, collecting data, etc.

    I don’t really care what information appears on my Google profile, but at least I have control over it. The spellings of both my first and last names are unique, so nothing that appears in my Google profile is any different than what appears in the SERPs for my name. The profile just consolidates that information onto a single page, giving those who may conduct a search a “one stop shop” for basic info about me, whether links to my sites, social profiles, etc. directly from Google. Which, whether we like it or not, most people see as an authority and a reputable source of information.

    Since I can actually control what appears on my Google profile “what will be done with the info” concerns me far less than what goes on behind the scenes…the things we have so little verifiable control over – as is the case with Google’s new manner of ad targeting. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but I do see the new ad targeting as a “resistance is futile…you will be assimilated…” situation. But that’s another post altogether. ;)

  • Tim Staines

    Has anyone seen these profiles showing up anywhere EXCEPT the bottom of a SERP in the onebox?
    I don’t see it as something that will affect personal brand rankings at this point. The Danny example is a good one . . . even if more than one person shares your name G puts it at the bottom of the SERP with other people and then links to additional [name] profiles if there are more than what will fit in that space.

  • netmeg

    I have about fifteen Google accounts that I use for various things. I’m going to put “I’m Spartacus” in each of them (maybe with a link to this video: )

    Wonder if I can get a duplicate content filter on profiles, hmm…

  • Danny Sullivan

    You don’t have to fill out all the forms. While Google did say you had to have a comprehensive listing, they also didn’t specific what that was other than to say a first and last name. So I’d start with that. And yeah, gun or not, I’d get the profile. That’s going to be SEO 101 when it comes to reputation management. Moreover, I can well imagine that those who have had profiles longer are going to get the nod to be in the profile box display.

    I haven’t seen the profile promos linked to my own name, and those do seem a bit odd. I suppose, though, you do have people unlike you — Lisa — who went they search have no representation in the results. Some other poor Lisa Barone might come along and search for herself and wonder why she gets no love. So for her, Google’s pitch saying that she can get a profile and show up is going to be a good thing.

    I suppose she could go out and get a Facebook profile, a Twitter profile, etc — but there’s no guarantee that would show up on Google. This way, she’s got the most direct route possible to get listed for her own name. Still not guaranteed but easier than dealing with third party sites.

    So in general, I do think this is more a good thing than bad. But yeah, having a form like that which asks a lot of personal questions didn’t go down well with me. I think they should be very clear about what’s required and what is not. And things like where I live, where I was born — perhaps they ought to say what’s totally NOT going to be used for ranking, so you can feel more comfortable leaving some stuff off.

  • Brian Hancock

    Matt Cutts mentioned on twitter the other day that you can take it to the next level and actually verify your identity by linking the account to Knol and going through the name verification process:

    You though the profiles were bad, this requires credit card info, social security number, etc.!

    What does this get you? A green button next to your name that says verified. That will be the next ‘requirement’ to be visible in a search for a common name…

  • Jen Lopez

    For the most part I agree with this. I hate being forced to do anything… but honestly this may be the only damn way to every rank for my own name! Sure I do well for “Jen Sable Lopez” but who the hell searches for that? I’m quite curious to see if it will help me at all. Thanks for the post!

  • Lisa Barone

    Tim: No, I don’t think anyone’s seen these profile results showing up anywhere but at the bottom…but that doesn’t mean they won’t. And then you have Google-approved profiles showing up before the organic results that people have worked hard to create. It’s a Google-controlled SERP. No thank you. [hands Tim my tin foil hat]


    I haven’t seen the profile promos linked to my own name

    I performed the search for the past 2-3 days and I get it EVERY TIME I search for my name, yet never for anyone else’s name. Perhaps you don’t get it because you have a Google profile claimed already? [cue scary music] I’m just saying. It’s creepy and feels a bit like I’m being stalked.

    The profiles are handy for people with no visibility in the results (or the poor other Lisa Barone’s who don’t blog about SEO), but the way in which these profiles are being marketed and how HARD they’re being marketed has me more than concerned about filling one out. But you’re right, I don’t have a choice. I HAVE to fill one out. Because chances are it’s going to become SEO 101 to have a Google profile and profile age will become important. And that’s why I don’t like it. They’re forcing something on me I don’t want to do simply because they can. And then they’ll create a social user ranking system that will be used to shoot more ads at me and who knows what else and we’ll all be little Google pawns. Hmph.

    Brian: And do you know how many people will trip over themselves to do that and hand Google their social security number? A GAZILLION!

    Jen: Okay, in your case I’m actually curious how the profile would work. Please create one so that we can all watch to see if you rank for Jennifer Lopez. :p

  • Jen Lopez

    I created mine for “Jen Lopez” because there were already a ton of Jennifers… I JUST created it, and I already show up. Perhaps I’ll see what happens if I change it to Jennifer.

  • Tim Staines

    I gave them my credit card . . . same thing I do every time I go to the airport. [Takes Lisa’s foil hat, crunches it up & throws it into the recycling bin] Our phones are tapped, our computers can film us, and Google is going to serve us more relevant ADs . . . maybe I’m ignorant, but I don’t care.

  • perry

    nice analysis – dovetails a lot with my thoughts on the topic. Except yours is just deeper, and better written, oh and more insightful…

  • Arrogant Googler

    Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, all it’s doing is checking your search query matches the name *that you ALREADY provided google with* to log in to your Google account? Try logging out and run the search again, ya’ dummy.

  • Lisa Barone

    Arrogant: Well, duh. I know that’s what they’re doing. That’s the CREEPY part. That they’re specifically targeting me by name because they know that it’s Lisa Barone searching for Lisa Barone so, HEY LISA, why don’t you create a Google Profile and feed the borg? I wasn’t under the impression that they were magically guessing my name or secretly reading my mind.

    But to me, that’s more creepy — the fact that they’re pushing it so hard and making it so targeted and being so aggressive. If that promotional box was showing up for any name when anyone does a name search, that’d be one thing. But it’s not. It’s going after MY name because it knows I’M searching. Creepy.

  • Alysson

    I agree with the creep factor as it pertains to serving up that targeted ad when you search for your name. It’s one thing to KNOW that Google is watching everything you do…quite another for them to not even bother trying to act like they aren’t.

    What’s next? A prank phone call from Google saying “I know who you are, and I saw what you did…” in the uber-disturbing Scream Guy voice?

  • Kevin Marks

    Hi Lisa. I’m one of the people who worked on this feature at Google, and you’re right; it isn’t for you or me.

    The profiles are handy for people with no visibility in the results (or the poor other Lisa Barone’s who don’t blog about SEO)

    Exactly. It’s for them, and the people searching for the other Kevin Marks’s out there who at the moment only find me, because I put so much stuff online.

    The point of surfacing the profiles that have photographs and other identifying info in them on the page is so you can spot the person you were actually searching for, and get to the page they made to point to their stuff, and possibly their contact info if they already know you.

    The point of targetting the people who are self-searching is to help all those Kevin Marks’s out there that have been cursing me since they started googling themselves.

  • Lisa Barone

    Kevin: Okay, I understand how the other Lisa Barones are probably pissed and looking for a way to get their faces in the search results, HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean you need to stalk me. :)

    And is this really for them and altruistic and white hat or is it about your social user ranking system? That one that will be used to target influential searchers by name and hit them with more ads or out them for some other Googley purposes? I’m sorry, but if this was just about user profiles, it’d be like every other Google product out there. People would have a choice without being smacked in the face with it or pushed into doing it. This feels a little heavy and that makes me question its motives.

    You don’t feel like you guys are being a little aggressive here? Do you understand why I would feel like maybe you’re pushing this down my throat and holding me hostage? It seems like I have no choice BUT to complete a profile or I give up a spot in the SERPs. It’s a forced opt-in.

    I heart Google, I’m just not sure I 100 percent trust you. But I very much appreciate you coming by. You get many brave points in my book. ;)

  • David

    The interesting thing is that i have noticed Linkedin doesnt seem to have the same level of power within serps anymore, or i think ive just been a little too intense on my social media footprint…

    i would be more interested if Google was to now buy twitter…

  • Melissa - Mindful Construct


    First of all thank you for writing this post.

    I have begun to accept that things are already down this road, and because Google is a free service, they can link arms with Big Brother all they want and we technically “can’t” complain.

    But yes we can, and I’m glad you did.

    After reading your post, I realized that all that Coast to Coast AM talk about AI in future who track your buying habits and so on, and not only profile you but psychoanalyze you based on those profiles — seems much closer than I once thought.

    Yes, the internet is awesome because of the transparency and many other things, but it’s becoming more of a matrix in many ways too. I’ve accepted that I will have to give up some privacy if I want to take advantage of the transparency. I try to be careful, thinking through before tweeting, or linking information to my digital footprint, which may very well soon be my thumbprint if I opt in. But there’s not much I can do if I want certain gains.

    I think that the best thing I can do, that we can do, is learn more about the marketing strategies and the potential pitfalls of being so profiled. Because the bottom line is that Google can powerhouse a matrix — but the matrix has to give people the choice to reject the program (at least in the movie it did). In other words, if we keep talking about these issues together, like you are spurring conversation right here, we can find the ways out of being controlled or manipulated in the future, if things turn more bleak. After all, ads flourish from compulsive behavior and fear — human afflictions that just happen to be the norm, so making ads even profitable.

    I’m hopeful that we are smart enough to figure out how to side-step the doom and gloom future. But at the same time, when I really let myself think about it, I get very upset. Because you’re right, it boils down to intimidation.

  • Cijo Abraham

    There is no harm in just creating a profile on Google profile. The thing is just provide minimal information. Most of us are doing that while we create profiles for other social networks like linkedin , facebook or any other social networks. Then why can’t you just create one for the sake of online reputation management. The idea is pretty clear Google just needs your thumbprint . The better thing is to provide Google with less information like just the name and nickname. I hope that are the too things needed to create a Google profile. I have created Google Profile but that was just for the sake of Online reputation management. It is up to each individual whether or not he would like to create but better create one.

  • Julie-Tenerife

    It is creepy. I was happy when the internet was less personal and websites were about pushing products or information and not a personality contest. Now it seems if your mug is not pasted everywhere and you don’t have a million followers what you have to say isn’t important or is less worthy/honest/funny/… than Joe Blow who has plastered his progile vverywhere from Google Profiles to Myspace and back again.


  • YouDontGetMyInfo

    The profile creation advert comes up on your name only b/c you’re logged into a google service, such as gmail where you already so foolishly gave away your information. If you are using gmail then why be so concerned about typing in some hobbies when they already have years of your correspondences archived.

  • Alan Bleiweiss

    I totally agree that they’re using heavy handed methods here. I stayed away for several days, as the flood of “get your profile” tweets came from all sectors. Then I realized the whole “reputation management” angle and said DAMN I guess I’ll just do the basics.

    So I did, and did NOT fill in my life story. Though it’s already there on my personal blog, I figure why give it to Google directly…

    Except when it came time to get my name in there under that “vanity” crap field. It wouldn’t be accepted! Said Not Available. WTF?

    SO I checked – and there’s no other Alan Bleiweiss profile out there!

    So what the hell is Google’s reason for me NOT being able to use my own name, in six different variations? That was so craptastic. Eventually I just left the site even more pissed because of course Google doesn’t give us any way to really resolve problems when one of their systems does a SNAFU most of the time.

    It’s just like the whole Feedburner issue – I can’t move my feeds to the new Googlized system – it keeps throwing some garbled error message. So my feedburner account is lost in #GoogleHell. #GoogleSucks #FeedburnerSucks #GoogleProfileSucks

    Oh – sorry – I slipped into #TwitterHell there for a minute.

  • Dan Sullivan

    Wow – I guess having the same name as a more well-known SEO has its… benefits? We are looking for one more client :)

    -Dan Sullivan

  • Chris Estes

    I gave in and didn’t even analyze it. Great article.

  • Web PPC Spy

    Yes, Google is the monoply of the internet FREE SEARCH these days thanks to the ‘slow movers’ Yahoo and MSN’s.

    Now…would it be a good idea if all the internet marketers (i.e. merchants, affiliates, seo consultants, and all other online millionaires) can come together and set up an I.M organization (we could named it as “World Federation for Internet Marketers”)?

    Then, through our I.M organization, we can TAKE on Google the faceless ‘money sucker’ by becoming one of the key share holders of the internet giant. Then we can make our ‘little voice’ heard.

    By, WebPPCSpy

  • Luis Pereira

    Come on people, don’t be evil! Google wants to be our friend.

  • Tony Lawremce

    So lie.

    That’s what I do. Every website that has ever asked for my birthday, my mother’s maiden name or anything like that has a totally bogus answer. My dog’s name? I don’t have a dog, but some websites think I do.

    I have a favorite set of fibs or the ones that use these as challenge/response items but for sites like Google, anything goes.

  • john andrews

    I think I have to start looking for a new field, because now everyone is writing about how Google is positioned with too much power, is not actually the benevolent savior of the people, isn’t fostering a “free world of information”, is not empowering a utopian meritocracy, and is actually out to cash in on your life to fuel cash bonuses for executives.

    The sad thing I note is the complete lack of evidence of brilliance in any of these “innovations” coming out of Google. With all the Mensa power they claim to have, these efforts are fairly lame in the innovation department. Prompt users to create profiles.. in 2009? Geewhiz how brilliant! I bet they discovered that opportunity by watching the “buy viagra” serps.

    I’ve been waiting for Google to show us what billions in profits, cash reserves, and years of recruiting the “smartest engineers” (little “e”) can generate… and all I get is a short-sighted facebook app, Youtube embedded in search results, better analytics, more tightly-managed PPC profit margins, reliance on brands for trust, etc.

    It’s like the Yankees breaking the spending caps and setting new records for arrogance, only to lose miserably. Totally freakin disappointing.

  • Fred Newtz

    That is pretty scary that the link only pops up when I search my name. I have two different view points on this. The internet marketer in me loves the idea. The conspiracy theorist in me cringes everytime I think about adding myself to Google profiles. I mean if they are already gathering the information, then fine. Might as well make it easier for them. What can I do to stop the information gathering?
    Fravia makes it possible

  • Gerald Weber

    I noticed my Google profile showing up yesterday when I Google myself and I thought cool. I think the Google profiles are pretty neat but I do understand your position. Google profiles is a stalkers dream come true.

  • Shayna Burns

    Great post! It’s so easy to jump on the bandwagon of a new site or service, but rarely do people take the time to really think about what they are or could be getting into. Thanks! OH P.S. you had me at John Cusack ;)

  • Wingnut

    Haha, yes… I was going to write something like this… but then I had a kid on the 8th and have no time for internets and why I’m days behind. :(

    Google will eventually do something really evil to everyone with all the info/power they have. It’s just a matter of time.

  • Jordan Kerr

    The article is great. I filled in my profile because I was afraid of the alternative.

    Taking it in a slightly different direction – I think a lot of this lack of privacy is making me a better person. For anyone who has read, Pedagogy of the Oppressed it’s like the ‘Cop in the head’. I’ve noticed myself start to self police my own actions/words. Because I work in online marketing I’ve noticed I watch what I say more, I’m trying to be the kind of person that would be happy to have their life opened up to criticism. Being yourself online is a wonderful way to find out who you are, because it gets amplified and reflected back on you.

    I don’t necessarily want privacy online. I don’t think we should be too attached to this notion anyway.

  • Bill Marshall

    I’m with you Lisa, letting anyone have the level of personal information that Google seems bent on amassing worries me deeply. I don’t want targeted advertising – actually I don’t want ANY advertising and I worry about an economy that’s based so heavily on it – I ignore it as much as I can. I don’t use my Google account while searching, only ever for using webmaster tools and Analytics. Am seriously considering removing GA from some of my sites. And as for Street View, it can go to hell, we have far too many CCTV cameras around in the UK already without more in the hands of companies we can’t control and who want to join up all the information they can.

  • Luke Regan

    I’ve created mine and added ‘Relevant Search Results’ to ‘something I can’t find using Google’. Hope this doesn’t affect my ranking ability Kevin.

  • Debbie Newhouse

    HI Lisa,
    I was happy to see your post, I reviewed this and felt like Big Brother would soon be reading my diaries. It also appears that once the information is out there, it can be changed but never really deleted.
    I am in a wait and see mood for the time.
    I will be monitoring and reading the news on this as it develops further. Thanks for writing about what I was thinking, now we know just because we “pause” doesn’t mean we aren’t aware of these new tools.
    Here’s to balance!

  • Loretta

    It was bad enough when Google starting giving “customized search results” that match the things we search for and wrapped it up and put a bow on it and said it was all for the internet user’s benefit. That was a crock of crap as much as this is. It’s all for Google’s benefit and their quest to rule the internet.

    I used to be such a Google cheerleader. I loved Google, I loved their tools, I still love some of their tools, but every time I type something into that search box I feel like ninjas are going to bust through my roof and propel in the windows.

  • Josh

    Perhaps if you weren’t logged in to your google mail account while doing the searches it wouldn’t ask you that question?
    My test shows that if I am logged out, Google doesn’t know who I am. If I log into gmail then search google asks if I am me and if I want to fill out a profile.
    So…. yeah. You’re a paranoid lunatic.

  • Indu Priya

    I created a Google profile and I observed the same.

    Only if I login into gmail, the google search asks if i am me.

  • glasnost

    Well Done! I Like it!