Tuesday, February 7, 2012

D*mn you, G**gle!!!!

Sure, I do it. I'll admit it. Every once in a while I g**gle myself. Because I want to know what the world sees when they try to get a glimpse of me, or at least my online life.

I'm used to boring results. A press release here. Some pages of my work website there. A few articles on infertility where I'm quoted or my old blog is referenced. Every once in a while a mention or a review of our cross-country trip pops up and I enjoy a little swell of pride. Fine. Fine. All fine.

Last night, holy shit. I stopped, literally, mid tea sip, eyes wides, expletives stuck in my throat. Due to g**gle's new search algorithm and search process, I got not only the boring bits...

But every photo or image I've ever used here on my semi-anonymous blog. Thank you, P*cassa.

And every web domain I've ever purchased. Including this one. Along with my name and address, phone number and email.

Ack. spit. sputter. react. quick.

So, I set every photo to viewable only by me and shelled out a few extra bucks to make all of my domains private and pushed through a proxy server. Which I should have done in the first place. I know. I know.

Not like its a crisis, not like its the end of the world. But it was a bit of an unpleasant shock to see my full name and all my contact bits linked so helpfully to all of these little hidden treasures of my soul.

I had been hearing rumblings of people really pissed off at the G**gle search, but that had more to do with using G**gle+ as its primary source over, you know, actual source documents and sites, and assuming you wanted to know what people in your circles thought was relevant. And of course there were some competitors shouting that's not fair. I wasn't expecting my underwear on show.

Consider this post a public service announcement. Go g**gle yourself. Like now. Put your tea down first. Lock down what you need to. So the pieces of you you want public are able to take center stage.

And just out of curiosity, let me know if you found something funky or surprising, or if its just me that had my goods all strewn out for all to see.

18 comments:

Catherine W said...

Nothing exciting but googling my name (which is a common name) still hit my blog on the first page of results. Setting my profile to private seems to have fixed it. I'm not keen for people who know me to find my blog so thanks for the tip!

I can only imagine that you must have had a very unpleasant shock, I know it made me feel a little bit queasy to see my profile come so quickly when I always consider my blog at least semi-anonymous in that I don't use my full name there. Argh! Google! Damn your eyes!

Anonymous said...

I use lots of fake names. Like, so many that I have trouble keeping track of them.

Plus, there are two people in the US with the same name as me (first + last) who are apparently lots more active on the internet than I am. So it looks like most of the results point to them.

niobe (not my real name, of course)

Nadine said...

Googled my name, got linked in, fb, and twitter. No blogs.
I also got the results from every race that I ran.
Image wise, none of me, 2 pics of my husband from his work.
I'm sure I was pretty strict with my anonymity of pictures/previous blogs and it worked!

Heather said...

Whoa - I had to check myself, and it turns out there are a lot of people with my name. I couldn't find me on the first few pages of Google results. I also didn't see myself in any of the images. So having a common name is good for a few things....

Interestingly, there was a pretty major news event in the last 5 years that my graduate research was tied to, albeit with my maiden name. Good Morning America called my parents, sister, my in laws, and found my husband at work; but they could not find me. After a few months a local paper did find home number and left a message emphatically stating how they had been working for AGES to find me. Heh. I'm stealthy without even trying.

Mrs. H said...

I use my first name on my blog, but mostly my nickname. When I google my full name lots of results come up, none of which are mine. Several blogs even come up but none are mine. Probably cause even my email is in my nickname. Thanks for making me check though.

m said...

Sneaky ladies! I'm glad nothing was too revealing and that Catherine you were able to fix yours in a jiffy.

Did I really just say jiffy? That was weird.

Oh racing results. I guess I need to actually enter some this year to get any results online, hey? Aiming for a few 5Ks in March. I swear.

Rachel said...

Thanks for this. I have had my blog not searchable by google for ages, but it has somehow grabbed all of my photos anyway. And while none of them are too specific, I do sometimes post the same photos on my public photo blog. Argh!

Catherine W said...

Ha ha ha - jiffy! My Britishness is infecting you via the internetz!

m said...

Rachel, yes!!! That is the part that totally freaked me out. The photos?!?!?

niobe said...

Also, my mother always told me that if you google yourself, you'll go blind.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Smiling said...

oh, I would have sputtered too!!!

Nothing really came up on my search. I tried so many wierd combos with my real name... and have that most elusive thing -- no response. The only thing that found me was my name plus POF which randomly google translates into PROF and every think about me and academia was there:)

hope it is all sorted now M.

And Niobe -- you have always impressed me with how very good you are seem to be at keeping track of your fake names. Over the years I've picked up a few tips from you!

I think if I ever met you M or you Niobe in real life, I'd actually risk using your blog name anytime something about blog topics came up. You have me THAT trained now:) luckily I don't think either of those names are that google able either.

Mo and Will said...

I had a similar freak out... with tons of pics from my blog appearing...but then had Will google me. He couldn't see any of that. Seemed that it was only because i was logged in as myself that I was seeing all that stuff and that it wasn't broadcasting it to the world. Or so I dearly hope.

Mo

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Since there is a porn star with my name, I get a lot of her hits first. I'm assuming most people will grow bored after the 2nd or 3rd page.

Though Googling just brought up my vomiting clown picture which was a nice way to start my morning.

Nicole said...

Hi there,

I just found your blog as I saw you started following mine. So glad you found me! Not that I am happy either of us have had cancer or infertility but it is comforting to find others who understand.

Anyway, I constantly Google myself and remove myself from any of those weird people searches (Intelius, MyLife, etc) and I have set it within word press so Google doesn't archive my blogs. It definitely creeps me out when I find stuff out there I don't want people to see.

Looking forward to reading more about you and your story.

badbadwebbis said...

Nothing TOO bad, but I have no idea when my phone uploaded a bunch of pictures to Picasa...! Thanks for pointing this out, because it's kind of creepy. Google feels like a PI, actually.

Magpie said...

clicked over here from Dresden's site, and got all cranked up about this - because yes, when i googled me all sorts of stuff came up. HOWEVER. i then opened a different browser and re-googled while NOT SIGNED IN - and got a much more normal set of results. so, that could be it?

Lisa said...

My maiden name (which I still go by for work purposes) is fairly common, so I was lucky there, but my married name, which I only use on Facebook, turned up a few interesting items. The most potentially embarrassing was the protest I wrote on Dunkin Donuts' Facebook page about three years ago, complaining that they don't have any stores in L.A. So now my whole life is boiled down to donuts...

m said...

Magpie and Mo - I think you're right, signing out and trying again is far less revealing, phew! But still...

So, after some conversations with Dresden, I am seriously considering self-hosting my blog. Anyone already taken that leap? Scary? Time-consuming? Worth it?

Google