Posts Tagged ‘Google Profile’

Google ‘Me On The Web’ Tool Promises To Help You Manage Your Online Identity

Published by pratyushkp on June 17th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Image via CrunchBase

Google has released a feature that is supposed to help users manage the information that shows up about them on the web.

Called “Me on the Web,” the tool is available on the Google Dashboard.

“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,” Google explained in a blog post. “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.”

Only users with a Google Profile can use this tool, which displays links from a user’s profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It also let users set up search alerts for themselves, though the section seems to offer only links to how-to articles about steps you can take to control third-party information about you. The tool won’t, for example, actually let you remove an embarrassing article about yourself that appears in your search results.

Google writes of the Google profile:

With a Google profile, you can manage the information–such as your bio, contact details, and other information about you–that people see. You can also link to other sites about you or created by you. For example, you can link to your blog, online photos in Picasa, and other profiles such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

At this point, however, Google’s tool seems more a push for the site to get in on the social game by helping the company manage what it knows about your online connections, rather than letting you actually control your online identity.

See the feature below:

Source :-

  • Google’s “Me On The Web” Pushes Google Profiles – Take That, Facebook? (
  • Google’s “Me on The Web” Tracks Online Mentions Of Your Name, Just Like Google Alerts (
  • Google Launches “Me on the Web” to Help You Manage Your Online Identity (
  • Google launches Me On The Web, to help monitor online identity (
  • Google helps you manage your online identity, justify those vanity Alerts (
  • Google Launches Tool for Online Reputation Management (

35 million Google profiles were *already* exposed on the internet

Published by pratyushkp on June 2nd, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Image by ginatrapani via Flickr

Do you have a Google Profile? Did you find yourself getting cobbywobbles when you read the headlines in the security press?

Here’s just a handful of the many headlines that have appeared in the last few days:

“35 Million Google Profiles Captured In Database”, Information Week

“35m Google Profiles dumped into private database?”, The Register

“Entire Google Profile database acquired by a user”, ARN

Matthijs R. Koot, a PhD student at the University of Amsterdam, was able to create a database of 35 million Google Profiles, scooping up real names, email addresses, biographical information, Twitter feeds, links to Picasa photos, etc.

Sound scary to you? If so, maybe you’re one of those people who has populated your Google Profile with a large amount of private information that you wouldn’t like to fall into the hands of ne’er-do-wells.

At first glance the headlines might appear worrying. But there’s one important thing you need to know.

All of this information was already available to anyone on the internet.

You may remember that last year security researcher Ron Bowes conducted a similar experiment with Facebook, creating a database of 100 million Facebook users who had left their profiles open for anybody to view.

Koot has done something similar – but with Google Profiles. He wrote a relatively simple script (which he published on the net for others to try out) that harvests Google Profile data – and in the process, revealed that many users were potentially being careless with their personal information.

So, Koot hasn’t actually exposed any new information. He’s just written a script to collect together data which was already out there.

Google Profile allows you to choose the nature of the url to your profile. You can either have a random-looking number, or the username they use for Google Gmail.

For instance, Matthijs R. Koot has the option of using:


However, Google Profile users are explicitly warned that if they choose to customise their URL with their GMail username, they will be making their email address publicly discoverable.

Koot says that he conducted the test to expose how careless people were being with Google Profile, and in particular that they were exposing their email addresses.

He discovered that approximately 40% of the 35 million Google Profiles he accessed exposed the owner’s username and hence their address. That’s 15 million exposed email addresses.

There’s an obvious potential for spear phishing and malware campaigns when you have access to such a hoard of legitimate email addresses. Especially when they can be combined with other personal information shared on your Google Profile.

Google Profile users can adjust their settings to not allow their profiles to be indexed by search engines. But that’s not really fixing the main problem.

Wouldn’t it be better to choose not to post personal information in the first place?

One problem, of course, is that you may not actually realise that you already have a Google Profile.

After all, Google freely admits that “if you’ve been writing reviews on Google Maps, posting buzz on Google Buzz, creating articles on Google Knol, sharing Google Reader items, or adding books to your Google Book Search library, you may already have a profile.”

Maybe now is the time to check if you have a Google Profile, and – if you do – that you’re comfortable with the information you’re sharing through it.

Ultimately, though, remember the golden rule. If you don’t want a piece of information to fall into the hands of hackers/your boss/your mother-in-law then maybe it’s best not to post it on the internet in the first place.

Source :-

  • 35 million Google profiles were *already* exposed on the net (
  • Google Profiles: Is Easy Aggregation An Invasion Of Privacy? (
  • 35 Million Google Profiles Captured In Database (
  • 35m Google Profiles dumped into private database (
  • 35 Million Google Profiles Collected (
  • Infosec Island: Researcher Nabs Details from 35 Million Google Profiles (
  • Google Business Profiles? (
  • Delete your [] profile (
Tags: Doctor of Philosophy, , , , , InformationWeek, Knol, , University of Amsterdam
© Social Media Blog

Ad Plugin made by Free Wordpress Themes