Google has launched a tool to enable users to understand and manage what people see when they search for you on Google. The tool called “Me on the Web” and is part of the Google Dashboard (users register to access personalised Google apps and tools).
Google states “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“. Being aware of your own digital footprint is an essential part of everyone’s digital safety, this tool enables web users to become more aware of and manage their online reputation.
You can use “Me on the Web” to alert you when your personal information gets published online.
To create alerts:
- Sign in to your Google Dashboard
- In the ‘Me on the Web’ section, click Set up search alerts for your data.
- Select the checkboxes beside the alerts (such as your name or email address) you’d like to receive.
- (Optional) Enter additional information in the text field and then select the checkbox for that alert.
- (Optional) Click Add another alert to create alerts for additional personal information.
You will now be notified when content about you (depending on the options you have selected) is publicly indexed via Google.
Users can also register for a Google profile. Google state that this can help users manage the information (such as contact details, and other information) that people see. With a Google Profile, you can also link to other sites about you or created by you. For example, you can link to your blog, online photos in Picasa, and other profiles such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This could be a useful tool in managing and maintaining separate professional and personal presences online. Google profiles can be made private or public (meaning it will be visible via search engines) and is optional. Professionals should carefully consider if this is a suitable option for them and should ensure it is compatible their professional role prior to use.
Parents and carers might want to consider using the tool to manage content posted online about themselves and their family. It could also be useful in showing Young People how visible their digital footprint is and how important it is to be aware of how the content you post online can be shared further and on a larger, more public, scale than intended.
Google also provides some very useful advice for users on how to remove unwanted content and unwanted search results.
For more information visit Google’s help and advice section: “Managing your Online Reputation” here