Google is so much more than a simple search engine. I cannot even begin to list all the Google products that are out there, let alone the ones I regularly use. Even if you don’t use Google frequently for search or for other purposes, Google has enough of a connection to you to permit one to pull together your information for the benefit of others, and for you, for that matter.
Rather than rail against Google’s apparent steel grip on your data, why not leverage their power to keep you fully informed? A long while back, I set up Google Alerts on my names and business interests and fed the resulting RSS feed right into my Google Reader account for easy access. I check a few times a week to see what might have landed in my ‘net. Yes, I have most defnitely found a few interesting nuggets of information that I might never have otherwise found, and scooped references before I was greeted by them via more traditional means. Being online these days means being more exposed to traffic in and around your name or brand, and sometimes that traffic is positive and, well, sometimes it is negative.
If you are with me on embracing the need for affirmative examination of your online reputation at regular intervals, a great single stop is your Google Account and its new section Me On The Web. Me On The Web can be found on your Google Account dashboard with information specifically pertaining to your Google Account. What is your Google Account? Well, do you have Gmail? The account or profile associated with that Gmail is your Google Account. You can access your Account here. Your Google Account includes all sorts of information connected to your login, including all of the Google services you use, such as YouTube, Blogger, Gmail, and Calendar.
When you log in, you are taken to your Account Dashboard, which contains a small dump trunk load of information associated with that account. Everything from Alerts, Blogger activity, Books, Buzz, Calendar, Checkout, Custom Search, Docs, Feedburner, Friend Connect, Gmail, Mobile App, Sync, Groups, iGoogle, and Latitude, Music to Picasa, Product Search, Profile, Reader, Social Connections, Talk, Tasks, Voice, Web History, YouTube, and access to other products that don’t have their own dedicated dashboard section yet.
The Dashboard is a very handy spot on the Web for viewing and managing all of your Google assets. The Me On The Web section pertains to your Google Profile and prompts you regarding links to that Profile (or a prompt to create a Profile) and links to creating Alerts. You can create Alerts directly from the Google Alerts page. But, given the scope of information available on your Dashboard, it makes some sense to manage aspects of your Account from that place. The left column in the Me On The Web section is composed of links from your Google Profile – information you have added yourself about yourself. The right column gives you a link for setting up Alerts and some guidance on how to manage your online identity and remove unwanted content.
Obviously, you can best leverage Me On The Web by: (a) creating a Google Profile and setting up your preferred public links; and (b) create Alerts pertaining to you and your brand and actively monitoring these alerts. You can do all of these things outside of the Account dashboard and the Me On The Web interface. Perhaps, though, Google has designs for this section that someday may afford better analytics and even greater control over your online rep. In the meantime, I just thought I would “Alert” you to the Dashboard and the Me On The Web tool, in case you haven’t yet taken control over your Google Account or considered instituting personal surveillance on your name. If you are on the Web, you are on Google and it never hurts to scoop the news about you before that news goes viral.
it even better. The data sits right below the main account information at the top. The section includes links from your public Google profile,