Google has just added a new tool for it’s Google users called ‘Me on the Web‘ to help with personal reputation and identity management. Some of the tools in this post may also be useful to businesses who uncover unflattering posts on the web.
Google has recognized that people don’t always want to be identified when they post things on the web or search for things on the web, as they may be in physical danger, looking for help, or have a condition they don’t want people to know about or are unsure of who the readers are. They have created 3 different identity options: unidentified, pseudonymous and identified. Here’s an extract of the definitions from their ‘Freedom to be who you want to be...’ post.
“Unidentified. Sometimes you want to use the web without having your online activity tied to your identity, or even a pseudonym—for example, when you’re researching a medical condition or searching for that perfect gift for a special someone.”
“Pseudonymous. Using a pseudonym has been one of the great benefits of the Internet, because it has enabled people to express themselves freely—they may be in physical danger, looking for help, or have a condition they don’t want people to know about. People in these circumstances may need a consistent identity, but one that is not linked to their offline self. You can use pseudonyms to upload videos in YouTube or post to Blogger.
Identified. There are many times you want to share information with people and have them know who you really are. Some products such as Google Checkout rely on this type of identity assurance and require that you identify yourself to use the service. There may be other times when it’s more desirable to be identified than not, for example if you want to be part of a community action project you may ask, “How do I know these other people I see online really are community members?””
Reputation Management Tools
Me on the Web makes it easier to monitor your identity on the web and provides easy access to resources describing ways to control what information is on the web. It also provides links to resources to manage your reputation and 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.
Here are interesting Google Sites on these topics:
4. Setting up a Google Alert to monitor the use of your name on the web. You can use Google alerts to monitor other information you have an interest in, but it has the useful function, if you set it up to monitor your name (or your business or product) on the web as well. Google Alerts is one of many ‘monitoring tools’ on the web. The list changes continuously.
Will you be using ‘Me on the Web’? My Google account does not seem to offer this option at the time of writing but maybe this is a US based offering that will spread to Canada and other countries at a later time.
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