Google's About Me page helps users control personal info

New page shows users what personal info others can see

People concerned about how much information is out there about them on Google have a new way to control what everyone can see.

Without any fanfare, Google has begun rolling out an About Me page to make it easier for people to control what others can see about them across Google services.

The page should be welcome news to people concerned about their privacy, according to Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research.

"With this feature, there are no changes to what information people can see, but a way for people to better control what people can see about them across Google services in one place," a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to Computerworld.

Google, with its myriad services like Gmail, search, YouTube and productivity apps, has been collecting a lot of information about its users.

The About Me page, which is tailored for each user, contains information like work history, contact information, educational background and places the user has lived, along with gender and birthday.

The page also enables users to edit or delete information that they don't want people to be able to see.

Information on the page had lived within Google+ users' profiles. People could edit their information there. The issue, though, is that Google+ isn't nearly as ubiquitous as Facebook, for instance, so respectively not many people had access to their profile information.

"People who don't have a Google+ profile now have the option of sharing more information if they'd like," the Google spokesperson wrote. "But they are not required to, and by default, they won't be sharing any new information unless they decide to and make those changes."

Kerravala said this should make it easier for people to take control over what information is out there about them on various Google services.

"Well, it varies by person, but, in general, I think there is a fair amount of fear regarding the information Google has on everyone," he said. "Now I can share it in the way I'm most comfortable. It certainly lets people customize what people can know and not know about them... I think people who are concerned with their privacy will use this."

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