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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 http://www.google.com/profiles/username, where "username" is the name of your Gmail account or an alias for those who use regular Google accounts. For example, the address http://www.google.com/profiles/117377434815709898403 becomes http://www.google.com/profiles/dclinton.

"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 }

9 comments:

  1. How about they make this the default?

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  2. I never knew Google had profiles! Doh!

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  3. The long 21-digit ID is a better idea if we take privacy into consideration.

    hongjun

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  4. Google profiles lack the ability to use the account URL as an OpenID (native or external)

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  5. "Google Profiles have cryptic web addresses that include 21-digit IDs to make them impossible to guess"

    Since they are so hard to guess, it's nice of Google to provide them all in databases of 5000

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site:gstatic.com

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  6. I'm not sure this is correct:

    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.I used a Google Account that already had three Picasa Web Album usernames setup and I was able to create a new, fourth username. However, the really confusing part was that I then wasn't able to use that as my Picasa Web Albums username as it didn't display in the settings page.

    This seems to be yet another way to grab Google usernames. It's about time they gave more control over these so that you can select them as email aliases and the like...

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  7. displaying the username will reveal our email address, too risky, it would be better if google allows custom names/urls.

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  8. I like your analysis of goolge #free eerf# oops Google

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  9. Google has gotten a lot more smarter and Geekzone is friendlier to search engines to extrapolate such information.

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