Shaad Hamid

Oxford SEO and PPC Consultant/Blogger

Add your own private contact details about XXX – New Google Plus feature?

| 3 Comments

I was browsing the interwebs a few hours ago and thought I’d pop over to Google Plus. While there, I did my bit of +1ing stuff that I found interesting, commented on +Richard Fergie’s post and called Kevin Gibbons a legend (as you do) on a Google plus post :)

Anyway, I digress…

I was going through Kevin’s Google plus profile page and found something I’d never seen before!

If you’re one of those who know everything about SEO/SEM/Social Media/Content Marketing/Inbounding then this might not be new (based on this thread, it looks like this was a feature released early this month) But I was like WTF! So I checked out Daniel Bianchini’s Google plus profile and saw the same thing!

The first thing that cropped into my head was, “is Google crowd-sourcing  information about people?” You know like how anchor-text was introduced by Lawrence Page in his paper as a method of understanding relevance about documents (web pages) by the words used by those that cite them. Is this the anchor-text equivalent on people?

I have a few nicknames. My mother affectionately calls me Shahad, my brother refers to me as Shaadee, my best friends Shalini and Imran refer to me as Shaadie (which incidentally means ‘marriage’ in Hindi). So I thought this is a pretty clever way of Google trying to understand relationships.

So I tried actually filling this stuff. When you click on the link you are prompted to the following form:

You can click on “show all fields” you’re prompted to this more detailed form:

So I went ahead and began filling em:

And clicked save – this is what you get:

 

So according to Google plus, this is visible only to me. Also it looks like this syncs with my Gmail contact details. When I search for Dan in my Gmail, these exact descriptions are brought up there too.

So what’s Google trying to do here?

Obviously Google can’t share these personal information with anyone else, so my best guess is that Google’s trying to take personalisation to the next level. I was listening to Amit Singhal at Google who, when describing the future of search mentioned how Google’s goal was to be a trusted and reliable personal assistant. He touched upon the fact that mobile is one of the most personal of objects that anyone owns. So could it be that with the advent of smartphones and the revival of email, that Google will actually be able to gather information from people and figure out how they relate to each other at a personal level?

Will I be able to use Google voice search and say “call Dan1″ and Google will ring him for me? Or say “text my boss” and Google will send Dan a text message? Hmm.. I don’t know. But if I was a gambling person I’d put all my money on this being another step for Google in their quest to become a fully blown answer engine.

I’d obviously love to hear your thoughts :) What do you think is Google actually up to?

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Author: Shaad Hamid

Shaad used to be an Oxford based SEO and PPC blogger, consultant and citizen journalist. He has recently moved to Dubai and is currently working as an SEO Account Manager at DigitasLBi. He is passionate about internet marketing and is the SEO lead for numerous clients from diverse sectors such as FMCG to Travel & Tourism. Find Shaad on Google

  • http://blog.paulgailey.com/ Paul Gailey

    I’ll confess I noticed this today and sort of shrugged at the time – hey just another feature creep social thang -, but some of your observations above are far reaching in the future event of these fields getting populated. Yes, it’s the xfn tip of the semantic identity social-berg that is G+ really is, but the issue is, will most people bother to add information here if it’s not immediately evident what the benefit to them truly is?

    • http://www.shaadhamid.com/ Shaad Hamid

      Hi Paul,
      Many thanks for stopping by :)
      I did have the exact same reservations. Personally I don’t think people will actually bother to populate these details. Alternatively, this could probably still be in beta? Or maybe Google haven’t managed to hit their targets on the level of data they initially thought they’d be able to mine? If on the other hand they do succeed (highly unlikely) to get people to disclose information about their friends, then Google voice search will be way ahead of Siri.

      • http://blog.paulgailey.com/ Paul Gailey

        If these fields are synched to the huge numbers of Android devices and used to nourish the nascent Google Now service then I suspect that is one area where the real value is. After all, social networks excel for users when they establish a symbiotic relationship. As in the more you put in, the better they serve you. People who go over the freaky red line on a regular basis claim so such as @Scobleizer