Posted April 21, 2009 6:54 pm by with 17 comments

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Google must have big plans for Google Profiles. Just last week, it implemented a change that allows you to use a vanity URL and now we learn that Google will start showing said profiles in its search results.

To give you greater control over what people find when they search for your name, we’ve begun to show Google profile results at the bottom of U.S. name-query search pages. These results offer abbreviated information from user-created Google profiles and a link to the full profiles. We’ve also added links so it’s easy to search for the same name on MySpace, Facebook, Classmates and LinkedIn.

Here’s how it looks:

[If you don’t have a Google Profile yet, simply search for “me“]

Now, before you get all excited about the reputation implications of this, don’t get your hopes up. Google Profiles will appear at the bottom of the search results page, so anyone checking out your personal reputation will still likely be influenced by the ten blue links in the main results. Still, it can’t hurt to have a profile added to the bottom of the page–especially one you control.

Google’s even keen to help you get the most out of your profile:

  • Add information about yourself on the Edit profile page so people can find you when they search by keywords associated with your profile. For example, include details such as the name of your hometown, your job title, where you work or go to school.
  • Link to your profile on another website (for instance, your blog or online photo album).
  • If you have a common name, add enough information about you to distinguish your profile from similar ones. Photos are especially useful.
  • Verify your name, and get a “Verified” badge on your profile. Verify alternate addresses on your account.

And, when you visit your profile, you see a friendly suggestion to link to it from your email signature or add it to your IM status message.

All of this promotion has me wondering what Google has up its sleeve. It seems awfully eager to encourage you to pimp out your profile and tell the world about it. Is this the first stage of a new Google social network? Or, perhaps Google’s adding profiles to the search results hoping it will be an incentive for all of us to sign up for Google Profile accounts and hand over our souls details to the search engine.

Where do you think Google is heading with this?

  • I like the idea overall, though I don’t like that the personalized profile URL is your gmail username, thus revealing your gmail address. Seems ripe for spambots. I know Gmail handles spam well, but still…

  • It let’s Google start to build relationships, which gives them another way to score links

    Jeremy Chatfield’s last blog post..Twitter Clients

  • @gRegor – if you’re logged into a Google Apps account, you don’t have to use your Gmail.

    @Jeremy – good points. We know Google doesn’t things solely for our benefit. 😉

  • Very good points are covered and its very nice for such a good changes you have bought.

  • For some reason I can’t adjust my personal URL to a unique URL. Very odd.

    Dan London’s last blog post..Growing a Playoff Beard

  • This is not really a surprise and I will be really interested to see what Google does with it longterm. Thanks for sharing the info.

  • @Dan – if you use Gmail, you can only use your Gmail name. With Google Apps I found that most of my preferred names had already gone–I couldn’t even get “marketingpilgrim” which leads me to believe there may be a bug.

  • LOL… love your title for this article. The profiles have been growing in features lately but including them in results is an interesting step forward. It will be interesting to see what the next step after this one will be.

  • Bring it on! It is always very exciting to get some free publicity and meet some new friends. I figured they had big plans when they started really pushing the Google Friend Connect. I don’t really think of Google as any kind of a social network but I can’t wait to see what surprises they have in store for us. 🙂


    Wendy Merritt’s last blog post..How to fix TrayApp after a restart

  • Building a searchable database with personal information for lots of individuals will produce a very marketable asset for sellers or everything from personal products to snowballs. It also provides another database for “big brother”. Great for movie stars and politicians who have a staff office and publicist address to use but not, in my opinion, for the average individual.

  • Are you ready to really sell your soul to G o o gle?

    Your profile will add additional revenue for G o o gle A d w o rds Clicks.

    The more targeted the buyer the more expensive is the pay per click cost.

    Now are you happy to really sell your soul and let G o o gle earn more
    revenue from it?

  • I think its great. This will only increase the online presence of online experts and their customers will see it as a form of politeness. Also more advertisement for all your links.

  • @”Free PPC Search” – rubbish. There’s little business (as yet) involved in selling clicks for a users’ name. Celebrities – yes. But they’ve always been well indexed, and heavily used for advertising. It isn’t celebrity profiles that Google Profiles will help.

    The issues surround personal disclosure (there’ll be a huge lump of people who don’t know and understand what they’ve given permission for, and will be distressed at some point) and relationships. Security services, marketing organisations and search engines can all benefit from the relationships revealed – just as they can from FaceBook and LinkedIn. It’s just a lot easier for Google to parse and *validate* their own data, than using a third party resource. Gmail, Chat, Orkut, Google Groups and so on all feed the possibility of discovering relationships to other people and to web resources.

    What’ll be interesting is the race to place Google Profiles as results for product searches. *That* will affect SEO and PPC strategies.

    Jeremy Chatfield’s last blog post..Search & Identity

  • Janine Butcher

    People search site have been doing this for loads longer and loads better too!

  • I’ll stick to Google for search, maps, and translate. But their spooky, voracious data mining will not be getting my personal data if I can help it. I’ll leave that to the more secure, less aggrandizing of Facebook. Yes, Facebooks has its own problems, but at least they are not spooks like the hitmen at Google. Google, evil is they name.

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