Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Taking "googling yourself" to the next level

Rob Hyndman sent me a link yesterday to an article in the Globe and Mail about a service called Zoominfo:
Globetechnology: Startup helps control personal info on Web:

"...The practice of typing your name into an Internet search engine and seeing what pops up is now common, but the results can be unpredictable. The Internet holds surprising amounts of personal information between its ever-expanding corners, and some of it may be outdated, inaccurate or embarrassing.

ZoomInfo's computers have compiled individual Web profiles of 25 million people, summarizing what the Web publicly says about each person. The service, launched Monday, allows Web surfers to search for their profile, then change it for free...."

It looks like it scrapes the internet for information about people and compiles it into one handy-dandy place. I put in my name and was surprised about what it had to say about me. Thankfully, most of it was positive, but it was also a bit scary. I put my wife's name and it knew all about her too, based on media interview she had done at the beginning of the year. It says you can control what is in it, but I doubt too many people will use that feature. I also wonder how they authenticate people. Can they tell the two hundred David Frasers apart?

You can even look up by "company". The Central Intelligence Agency may have some concerns about this ... ZoomInfo Search: central intelligence agency. Or the National Security Agency ... ZoomInfo Search: national security agency.

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