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Google Lets People Customize Their Profile Cards For Search Results

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Google is testing the ability for people to customize their own Knowledge Graph cards that are displayed in search results.

Three official support pages have been published by Google (which have since been taken down) with details on how customizing profile cards works.

Here’s some information I pulled from Google’s support pages before they were taken down:

“You can create your presence on Google Search by filling out a public profile card. You need to submit a profile card with your relevant info. People will then be able to search for you and discover your profile on Google Search results.”

Currently, this feature is only available in India, but that’s not to say the feature won’t eventually make its way stateside. So it’s at least worth being aware of even if you’re not able to take advantage of it right now.

Creating a profile card is as simple as entering the query “add me to Google” and tapping on the link to “Get started.” Users will have to provide at least their name, location, summary, and occupation.

What’s especially worth noting is that Google actually encourages the use of keywords in profile cards, especially if you share the name with another well-known person.

“If you share a name with someone famous, you might need to add a distinguishable term to your profile. This term will help other people in their search query. For example, “Aamir Khan food Blogger” or “Aamir Khan tutor.””

However, certain keywords are discouraged. For example, “Matt Southern SEO” would be acceptable, but something like “Matt Southern the best SEO in Canada” would probably get rejected.

Here’s what Google’s support document says:

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“Should not contain solicitation or other forms of advertisement. Avoid subjective terms like “best”, “only”, and “cheapest.””

Once a profile card has been created, other people will see it when they search for your name. Google notes that profile cards are not guaranteed to show up, but the more information you provide the more likely it is that Google will surface the profile card you create.

Source: Android Police was first to discover the existence of profile cards.

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Rights holders got Google to remove 6 billion links from Search over 10 years

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Rights holders got Google to remove 6 billion links from Search over 10 years

Over the past decade, Google has consistently documented its efforts to remove links from its search results to content that the tech giant considers pirated, and recently, the total number of Google takedowns since its reporting began has shot past 6 billion. It’s a milestone that Torrent Freak suggested shows that, “[w]hile copyright infringement can’t be eradicated entirely, Google is slowly but steadily presenting itself as a willing partner in the anti-piracy fight.”

Google’s slow evolution into an anti-piracy champion began ramping up in 1998. That’s when the Federal Communications Commission granted safe harbor to online service providers like Google, protecting them from copyright infringement claims about third-party content, with a condition that the providers disclose information on any users alleged to be infringers.

A decade later in 2009, it seemed like Google wasn’t doing enough, though, and the FCC again intervened, responding to news publishers lashing out at Google and others. At that time, the publishers accused service providers of profiting off ad placements next to links from aggregators and scrapers, who were accused of grabbing and republishing news content without permission.

Back then, Google promised to address the issue by making it easier for rights holders to flag infringing content in search results. Then it launched its first transparency report in 2010, but that initial report only shared information on government requests for takedowns.

Two years later, Google expanded its report, publicly counting every takedown notice that it received and “providing information about who sends us copyright removal notices, how often, on behalf of which copyright owners and for which websites.”

More recently, Google decided to go one step further by creating a preemptive blocklist in 2018. That move stopped copyright-infringing URLs from ever being indexed in search results, and those links are included in the 6 billion total of URLs delisted that Google documents today.

In 2012, Fred von Lohmann, Google’s senior copyright counsel, wrote in a blog that Google’s efforts to be more transparent about takedowns over this past decade were intended to help inform policy choices as the Internet evolves.

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“As policymakers and Internet users around the world consider the pros and cons of different proposals to address the problem of online copyright infringement, we hope this data will contribute to the discussion,” Lohmann wrote.

Google did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment on policy impacts of its transparency reports.

Google’s partner in tracking all of its takedown notices for transparency purposes is Lumen, whose project manager, Adam Holland, told Ars that Google submits more data than any other company that Lumen partners with, such as Twitter, Wikipedia, or Reddit. Holland said that the majority of requests for Google data come from academics interested in analyzing long-term trends, as well as, increasingly, media and non-government organizations, but rarely policymakers.

“We don’t actually get a lot of interest directly from lawmakers,” Holland told Ars. “Personally, that disappoints me, but that’s the reality.”

However, recently, Holland said that Lumen has begun working with the European Union to help it enforce new transparency requirements for online service providers included in its newly passed Digital Services Act. As a neutral data resource, Lumen’s primary goal isn’t to influence policy, though.

Holland told Ars the only stance that Lumen takes on the issue is remaining firmly against invisible takedowns by online service providers, because “[o]ur unofficial motto is good policy requires good data.” And because of its global reach, Google remains the key supplier of Lumen data.

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