Google launches online identity management tool

16 Jun 2011

Google has launched a new tool to make it easier to monitor your identity on the web and control what information exists out there about you.

The new tool ‘Me on the Web’ appears as a section of the Google Dashboard right beneath the Account details.

While savvy internet users may have used Google Alerts to send them notifications of mentions of their name or email address in websites and news stories, the Me on the Web tool enables users to this, as well as suggest search terms you may want to monitor.

It also suggests links to resources that offer information on how to control what third-party information is posted about you on the web, such as how to reach out to a webmaster to take down information that is wrong or how to make less relevant websites appear further down in your search results.

How to manage your privacy

“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,” said Andreas Tuerk, product manager at Google.

“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,” Tuerk said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years