Google is not evil. At least that’s what they tell us. And, their latest product release would support that assumption.
Today, Google announced “Me On The Web”, a new service designed to help users better understand how their online, indexed identity is constructed and give them the tools to help maintain it themselves.
As Read Write Web so aptly put it:
“What so many Internet users don’t understand, says Google, is that it doesn’t control the Web or the websites on it. Those are outside Google’s control. Instead, it has tools that crawl the Web and rank the pages it finds, so that when you search for topics, the most relevant items appear at the top of the list. That may seem like common knowledge, but it’s not. The Web is still a mysterious place to many of its users, especially when it comes to the details of Google’s role in the spread of information.
In addition, the challenges of how you should behave online, what items should be published publicly, and what you should do about unwanted, personal or damaging content are complex. The negative effects of “bad” online behavior aren’t often realized until it’s too late. And, as the famous line from the Facebook movie “The Social Network” reminded us, “the Internet isn’t written in pencil…it’s written in ink.” “
What Google’s trying to do with “Me On The Web” is give users a one-stop shop to see everything written about them on the web, as well as the white-out they need to remove the stuff they don’t like. Or at least, hide it from Google’s search results.
I think it’s a great idea, and a well thought out step in the right direction in terms of easing people’s fears about the uncontrollable nature of personal information on the web. And, it does help prove that Google’s not evil…at least for now.
Personally, I’m happy to have these tools and thrilled to start playing with them. But just because Google is now giving me white-out doesn’t mean I’m apt to forget that ink is still pretty permanent. And, as anyone who watches as many crime dramas as I do knows, white-out definitely doesn’t have to be.
Disclaimer: Anyone who knows me knows I’m a total Google groupie. If Google is the Empire, I should probably start getting fitted for my storm trooper outfit now. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t still be wary of any organization with that much power and server space. . .