I AM NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORIST!
I want to get that out right away, just so you don’t think that is where this is coming from.
I had a big “oh my” pause moment today in regards to Google. In doing some research in regards to SEO today, I noticed something. I had seen this before, but never really found the time to explore it very far. It was a newer feature that Google is now offering, called Google Public Profiles. Here you can create a small profile of yourself, including your picture and links to your website(s). The profile can be highlighted at the bottom of search results if someone is searching by name.
For me, it was the free “dofollow” links coming from Google that interested me. Now, whether Google will give any real link credit coming from themselves I do not know. But it can’t hurt rankings in other search engines! And its just another way to remind Google of your websites, with appropriate text anchors!
The pause… oh, yeah. I’m getting there! One of the features of the public profile is the ability to verify your name. This might be useful if your name is well known to prevent others from trying to grab interest of others by using your name. So I decided to go ahead and verify my name… after all, my name is often abused in so many ways! (LOL)
To verify your name, you go to another new feature from Google, called Knol. Here you can verify your name by either a credit card or your social security number. GULP! There was my pause… my Social Security Number? Do I trust Google that much? They have so much information already… do I go so far as to give them my SSN?
Again, I don’t think in conspiracies… but the fact that Google is so big, has accumulated so much data, has one of the most popular email services (and rising popularity with documents), its not too far a stretch to wonder what the end goal here is. And so very clever to have so many great features where people just willingly give up some very detailed personal information.
Do I go forward with the verification? I don’t know. I do not have an active credit card (and they can’t verify via debit cards yet.) My only option in doing it will be giving them my social security number. Maybe its my years of being around finance and credit, and all the news about ID theft… all added to some great Hollywood flicks… and I pause. What do you think? Would YOU verify, or stop to pause?
(1) Image credit: My Flickr Face, by ViaMoi