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April 14, 2009

Friendlier Google Profile Addresses

Google Profiles have cryptic web addresses that include 21-digit IDs to make them impossible to guess. One option to make the profile more accessible is to check "Display my full name so I can be found in search", an option that makes the profile searchable.

Another option is to change the profile's URL to, where "username" is the name of your Gmail account or an alias for those who use regular Google accounts. For example, the address becomes

"To make it easier for people to find your profile, you can customize your URL with your Google email username. (Note this can make your Google email address publicly discoverable.) This unique name will also be used in other links to your content on Google," explains Google.

You can always change your mind and go back to the default URL, but it's important to realize that the profile is public and anyone who finds the URL can access it. And once you know the URL of a Google profile, you can find other things: Google Maps reviews and edits, Google forum questions, Google Books collections and probably other activity pages.

Update: Google's algorithm for selecting the username is unnecessarily complicated. "If you use Gmail, and decide to customize your profile URL, your Gmail username, not your Picasa username, will be displayed in your URL. If you don't use Gmail and have a Picasa username, you'll have the option to display your Picasa username in your profile URL. You won't be able, however, to create a new username. If you have more than one Picasa username, we'll select the active username for your profile. If you later switch to a different Picasa username, your profile username won't change."

{ via DeWitt }

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