Over the weekend, Google quietly began rolling out a new, centralized profile system that will supply personalized information to each of the Google products that you use. Google Profile will subsequently share this information across all of Google’s products, bringing together various Google systems that besides a common log-in, haven’t previously played nice and shared data.
With the introduction of Google Profile, you’ll now have the chance to create one centralized profile, sharing as much, or as little information about yourself as you’d like. So far, the options for Google Profiles are pretty bare-bones, featuring your nickname (which displays as your real name to contacts only), location, occupation, photo, a short “about me” description, and links. Before you rush out to fill out your profile, keep this in mind – according to Google, all profiles are public and “may be returned as results by Google.”
Googling a person in the future might then reveal even more information than previously available, such as Google Groups they belong to, connecting all of one’s data across Google’s various services.
Right now, Google Profiles has been rolled out to a few of Google’s products, including Shared Stuff, Google Maps, and Google Reader. According to the Google Operating System blog, Google Profiles will be added to their other applications shortly. In the meantime, if you want to fill out your profile, log into your Google Account, and head on over to Google Maps.
Along the top of the page, as shown in the screenshot, you’ll see something called “My Profile”. Click on that, and you’ll be able to edit your Google Profile.
What I find most interesting about Google Profile is that it was launched on the heels of another major initiative – Google Open Social. It appears as if Google is now fully aware of the power that social networking can have, and would like to get in on that game in some way. If Google just adds in some features or nifty APIs that allow users to customize their “profile” pages even further, and allow others to leave comments, with this common link now between GTalk, Gmail, Groups, and all that, they’ve got a full-fledged social network of their own.