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For all the work people put into maintaining a profile on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, relatively few think to update their info on the world's most-used Web site.
Google Profiles offer you an easy-to-find hub for your bio information and links. Not sure if you've got a Google Profile? Just Google the word "Me" and see if it pops up at the top of your results. If not, you'll likely want to set up your profile.
Here are a few tips to making the most of your Google Profile:
1. Obviously you'll want to make sure that your basic information and links are up to date. Google makes it easy to add or remove links, and you can also shift certain links higher or lower in your list
2. The Contact Info section can be as detailed as you'd like, though you can also use privacy filters to limit your phone numbers and e-mail addresses to known contacts. People viewing your profile will still have a chance to contact you without learning your e-mail address.
3. Be sure to fill out the "Places I've lived" and "Where I live now" sections, which are incorporated into a cool little map. This has little practical use, but what can I say, I like little maps.
4. You can include a photo stream to jazz up what's otherwise a pretty dry profile template. Google lets you import photos from its own Picasa system, along with Flickr and other photo sites. You can choose to feature your most recent photos or specific photo sets.
One last thing. Be sure to set the URL for your profile. If you haven't done this before, it should be an option at the bottom of your edit page. If you can keep the address uniform with your ID on Twitter, Facebook, etc., it'll help you solidify your social identity even more.
Once you have a fleshed-out Google Profile, it should be featured on the bottom of Google search results whenever someone looks for your name. That's not the most mind-blowing placement ever, but I suppose you get what you pay for.
For now, a Google Profile isn't a tremendously useful resource in day-to-day life, but you can bet that Google will find more and more ways to leverage this tool as it faces increasing pressure from the social juggernaut of Facebook.Estimated time needed: 10-20 minutes.
Benefits: Improved search presence and a more unified hub for your online presence.