Monday, November 03, 2008

Search Google Profiles

Google recently published a Sitemap file containing the URLs of public Google Account profiles. Now, they've also started to offer a special profile search.

The next thing that needs to happen is for more people to be comfortable actually being found on the Internet using their real name (as I am not).

The more you connect these things up the more likely it is at some point that you reveal everything about yourself by one slip of a setting somewhere.

Is there a guru at Google making sure that by posting my blog or photos under a pen name I don't in some way make available my medical records, even if I think I've isolated the two things?

I have yet to see evidence that someone at Google is minding a barrier of privacy between what I am willing (and should be willing) to share and that which I am not willing (or should not be willing) to share.

It looks muddled to me, and of course it isn't only Google making it so.

The question isn't one of intent (are they evil?) the question is one of competence, and in this arena they need to be almost infinitely competent. Passwords having gotten out can be changed. Much less easy to change your home address and impossible to change your medical status or criminal record. What possible upside can compensate for all the possible downsides? And I say all this as a longtime supporter of Google. I just don't see evidence that they are paying attention to where these things could go.

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