And it’s just gotten easier, too. Gone are the days when you actually had to google a person and flip through webpages by hand. Now there seems to be a proliferation of websites that do that automatically and generate aggregated profiles. Here’s my Eventseer.net profile, in its entirety:
It’s so, like, totally awesome that these guys are chummy enough with me to call me by my first name. My research interests are point sets? Whatever makes you happy, buddy.
But the best part were the Google ads on the sidebar.
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And they’re all into point sets and planar point sets?
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Oh. Maybe not.
What is this Profile?
A Pipl Profile is an automatically generated profile that contains a summary of information found on the web.
How did Pipl get this information?
Our deep search robots continually crawls the web and extracts facts and other relevant information from general web documents, personal profiles, blogs, news articles and other publications using natural language processing and statistical analysis; this data is then automatically converted into quick, simple and interlinked people profiles.
The Pipl web page has a link where you can request to have your profile removed. (I haven’t tried.) My Pipl profile consists of links to several web pages that also come up in a Google search. That’s not unreasonable, but it raises the obvious question: why use Pipl when we already have Google?
It would be scary if landlords, personnel managers, and others in a position of authority started to rely on that sort of software for background checks. I hope that they’re smarter than that, though. Hand-googling a person is not always reliable, either, but at least you get to see actual web pages that might contain meaningful information, not just predigested hairball-quality blurbs with all sources removed.