Learn about yourself with Google

April 6, 2009 by  
Filed under All, seo, social media

googleThere was a meme on Facebook a while back, encouraging people to Google their name plus is, to see the funny results. For instance, Googling “Simon is” (with quotes) brings up:

Simon is an Intergalactic Hardware Visionary (cool!)
Simon is not a metal or a fuel or a food or water (true, I guess)
Simon is a cheese/hamburger worker (um…)
and so on.

So, kind of funny I suppose, but it got me thinking about what Google can *really* tell you about yourself.

Hopefully everyone reading this is aware of reputation management (if not, please contact us ASAP for a consult!). I have Google alerts set up for my name, just to make sure there’s nothing said about me I wouldn’t want my mom to read. A quick search for my name brings up my website, LinkedIn page, Facebook, plus the darned Hacker thing (it’s not real. And if it was, it’s not me, I swear!).

All well and good there.

But there’s plenty more that Google knows about you, from your searching habits.

If you have a Google account, and it’s getting hard to do much on the Internet these days without one, and providing you didn’t opt-out, then Google can show you a *lot* you may not be aware of.

Go to Google.com right now. In the top right corner, click on My Account > Web History. You’ll have to sign in – Google does like to create the illusion of privacy at least – but you’ll find a treasure trove of info.

The first thing to notice is the breakdown of all your searches, dating back years. You can view all together, or break it down into the different components – Web, Images, News, etc.

Once you get over the initial shock of just how much Google has been recording quietly in the background, it’s quite interesting to flick through. Almost like reading your old diary – Burns Night 2007 for instance I was searching Yahoo Answers for ‘how do I cook a turnip’. On May 21, 2007 I googled:

‘the name hannah is far too common’

Why? I have absolutely no idea! I am intrigued though. Lots of fun stuff to look back on.

You can also see your trends, and figure out just how much of your life you owe to Google. My searches are fairly consistent during weekdays, but I search a lot more in March (average of 2098 searches) than November (1091 searches). And considering that I would never call myself a morning person, it’s odd that my most active hours are between 8 and 10am.

These trends also show you the phrases you most often search for, the sites you usually click on (Wikipedia, Youtube, IMDB and Amazon, if you’re interested) and lots more.

If you ever had any doubt about why Google is the number one search engine, this should put those to rest. Just thinking about how much they know about me, and multiplying that by the billions of searches they handle every month, well, I’m more surprised they can’t just send me what I need each day in an email, without my having to bother with all the searching at all.

Anyway, check it out. Let me know if you learn anything interesting or unexpected.

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