Let’s face it, Google knows a lot about us, sometimes even more than our family and friends do. Just searching for yourself on the Internet can be an eye-opening experience, not always in a good way, making you wish you had one of those helpful search results cards that will highlight the things you do want others to know about you first. Those cards are unfortunately available only for important people, both alive and dead, but you can now make your own “virtual visiting card”, at least if you’re in India.
If you want to highlight some aspects of your public life, like links to your social network accounts, website, or even email, you can go to Google Search and search for yourself or simply tell Google to “add me to Search”. From there, you’ll be able to input your public profile, add your face to the profile, and fill out the information you want others to see about you. Next time someone searches for you or your name, your card will pop up as if you were some famous personality.
These people cards aren’t tools for narcissism, of course. Their primary purpose is to direct head hunters, prospective employers, and job scouts to pertinent information you’d want them to see rather than some popular or, worse, unpopular tweet you made years ago. Definitely useful these days when most contacts and connections are being established virtually rather than in-person.
Of course, Google is treading a thin line with this feature and it believes it has enough protections in place to prevent abuse. You can, for example, only make one people card per Google account and it requires a phone number to authenticate it. People can also report low-quality information or impersonators, which is bound to happen with this new feature. Whether other people will be able to invade your privacy using the information you yourself provide is something we’ll have to be on the lookout for.
People Cards are now rolling out in Google Search but it’s currently limited to India and only in English. The announcement doesn’t make any mention of plans to expand its availability but it will undoubtedly be a useful feature for any Internet user, no matter the country or language.