Tags: Google | Change | Name | Escape | Cyber | Past

Google: Change Your Name to Escape Cyber Past

Thursday, 19 Aug 2010 09:40 AM

By Dan Weil

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Young people will one day be allowed to change their names upon entering adulthood to escape their youthful indiscretions that were emblazoned on social media sites, predicts Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.

"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time," he told The Wall Street Journal.

"I mean we really have to think about these things as a society. I'm not even talking about the really terrible stuff, terrorism and access to evil things."

Some people have lost their jobs over inappropriate postings on Facebook and Twitter.

At the same time, Schmidt says Google will play an ever bigger role in people’s lives – because that is what people want.

"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he said. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

When someone is taking a walk, "we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are," Schmidt said. He might have added that Google knows where you are geographically too.

People can soon look forward to handheld devices that provide them with information they didn’t even realize they wanted, Schmidt says.

"The power of individual targeting—the technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them."

As for the name game, Tom Bradley, a writer for PC World, has a simpler solution than changing your name.

“I don't recommend changing your identity to try and dodge your digital past, but I do recommend exercising a modicum of discretion and common sense regarding what you post online.”

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