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Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 10:48 UK
Google gives users control of results

By Jonathan Blake
Newsbeat US reporter

Google logo

Whether you're curious or bored, looking yourself up online is one way to discover exactly how much other people can find out about you.

The results can be surprising, but also a little depressing if you find yourself clicking through several pages without as much as a mention.

But that could be about to change.

Google, the world's most popular search engine, is giving people in the US the power to control some of the results given when someone searches their name.

The company has started showing Google 'profiles' at the bottom of the page on name based searches.

Rebecca Kopal
Rebecca doesn't think the service will give users much control

It's announced on its official blog that it wanted to improve searches and give users "more of a voice".

Anyone can create a profile with information about themselves, including links to MySpace, Facebook and other social networking sites.

Google software engineer Brian Stoler wrote: "In just a few minutes, you can create a public profile that represents you, and that appears when people search for your name on Google."

Some users are sceptical about the idea though.

Rebecca Kopal, 21, a graphic designer from New York admits to 'googling' herself.

"Yeah I did - things from high school came up, and a Facebook link. I was told to call the people who posted things you don't want on there," she said.

But she's not convinced that the new service will give users that much control.

Matt Neill
Matt isn't keen on making a 'Google profile'

"There's only so much you can do. You have to go back to the source of who posted it because you're not in control of what's posted about you."

A Google profile can contain any information a user chooses to share, including links and pictures.

Friends Matt Niell and Kyle Brake, both 17, say they would rather not make that much information about themselves freely available online.

"I think that is too open - anyone has access to Google. On Facebook you have to have that person as a friend," Kyle said.

Matt added: "I think it'll create a bunch load of privacy issues and will turn into a really bad idea really fast".

Currently the facility is only available to users in the US but a Google spokesman told Newsbeat: "We're always working to ensure all of our products are available worldwide".

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