Go ahead Google yourself, everyone is

Have you Googled yourself lately? According to a survey (PDF) by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, there is a good chance you have.

The survey, released Sunday, found that 47 per cent of Internet users have searched for themselves through Google - up from 22 per cent in 2002. Only three percent of those searching for themselves on Google claim to do it on a regular basis, with 22 per cent claiming to search for themselves "every once in a while." A majority of 74 per cent said they have searched for themselves once or twice.

Another interesting tidbit from the Pew survey is 53 per cent of Internet users have Googled someone else's name. Reasons include reconnecting with past friends (36 per cent), searching about a coworker (19 per cent) or a job applicant (11 per cent), or even finding information about someone they are dating (nine per cent).

Not included in the survey is the statistic that approximately 100 per cent of those who read about the survey will Google their own name just to see what all the fuss is about. I of course did, and was both disappointed and relieved to find no information about myself.

While it's nice to know Google gawkers can't pull up anything on me if they tried, there's a strange emptiness to not having a digital footprint.

Perhaps I shouldn't care what people find out about me on Google. Apparently people don't worry about it.

The Pew survey found that 60 per cent of Internet users are not concerned with how much information is available online about them. A similar number of online adults (61 per cent) claimed not to limit the amount of personal information they reveal online, while only 38 per cent claimed to have taken extra precautions to limit that information.

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Scott Nichols

PC World (US online)
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