Search engines have become the number one source to know about a place, thing, person or any other entity that comes to mind. These days of social networking, blogging and many other online web portals, it is very much essential to control how our information appears online. You must be comfortable with the information that appears on the web, and if you’re not, then you should take immediate steps to remove the content from online that you’re not comfortable with.
A friend who you’ve not been in contact with for a long time might search for you on the search engine. No doubt this is a very good way for your friend to know more about you, but this information can also be used for some other purpose – for example, for spamming your email address with ads, for sending you unwanted text messages, etc.
That’s where Google’s Me on the Web feature offers some tools to keep your information under radar. In a blog post, Google says that:
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.
So basically, it is a tool that can help you to monitor your online identity easily. This tool can be accessed by logging in to your Google account and clicking on the profile photo > Account Profile and Privacy > Me on the Web. Alternatively, here’s a direct link for this tool.
It offers you three options, let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Search for yourself: This option allows you to know how you appear on the web. Click on ‘Search now’, enter your name and press enter. It displays ten results for your name, and at the bottom, there’s also a button to navigate to more results. You can also try adding your full name, or adding a location to your name and see how you appear on the web. It’s a simple Google search and you would be already familiar with this if you have searched for your name on Google.
Stay up to date with Web Alerts: This option allows you to create Google Alerts for your name, or any other name that you specify. Once you set the alert, you will be notified by email if your name appears anywhere on the web. This email will be sent once per day, but you can also change it to “as it happens” or “once a week”. But note that if your name is very commonly used, then you might not want to do this as you will be disturbed with an email every now and then.
Review your Google+ Profile: This option lets you view your Google+ profile. Go ahead view it once and make sure that you are comfortable with what appears on your profile.
Try out this ‘Me on the Web’ tool and take control of how you appear online. Though this tool seems to be a bit hidden in the Account options, now that you know about it, you should take a look and take control.