Google has released a new feature called “Me on the Web.” It’s a reputation management tool accessible from the Google Dashboard, underneath the Account details.
Google says the tool makes it easier to set up Google Alerts, and suggests search terms you may wish to monitor, and provides links to resources that offer information on how to control what third-party info is posted about you on the web. Product Manager Andreas Turk writes on the Google Public Policy Blog:
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. 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.
As far as I can tell, there’s not a whole lot new going on here. Me on the Web simply shows you what links you have attached to your Google Profile, which you could also see by actually going to your Google Profile (and which you presumably already know, since you set them up in the first place), a link to Google alerts, and a couple of Help Center articles about reputation management. This is all accessible from the Google Dashboard, which there is a good chance you hardly visit. At best, it looks like just another access point for this info. I guess the alerts suggestions could be mildly helpful.
All of that said, Me on the Web certainly can’t hurt anything. If it makes a few more people, a bit more conscious of their online reputation, that’s not a bad thing by any means. It should also serve as another subtle reminder to Google users that they have Google profiles (which provide a landing page for those Google social products – Buzz and +1s).