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Is Google Misrepresenting You?

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Google recently re-worked its algorithms to find more quality sites for searches and introduced ways for users to block websites on searches they don’t like. On Tuesday, it even launched a new search app for the iPhone. But what happens when the search result is you?

In this instance, Google puts very little power back in consumer hands and, unless there’s some illegal or highly personal information at issue, it’s unlikely to get involved in tit-for-tat between two third parties.

Looking yourself up on Google’s search engine can be like gazing at your reflection in a Hall of Mirrors. Google’s algorithms do their best to present the most useful results, but they often give a skewed result.

Short of setting up your own fan page, there’s very little you can do about it.

Spare a thought for Dr. Hugo Guidotti Russo. The Madrid-based plastic surgeon wants Google to remove from its search engine a 1991 article that appeared in the Spanish newspaper El Pais about a dispute he had with a patient. Google doesn’t easily forget.

So what do you do if the Google “you” has little or no resemblance to the real you?

This is Google Support’s official stance, which attempts to draw a line under the matter: “We run into a lot of people who think that Google runs the web and controls all the sites on it, but that’s really not the case.” It doesn’t run the web, but it does dominate it.

A spokesman for the U.S.-based search engine says Google won’t remove comments just because you don’t like what other people say. “Google will remove items in a narrow set of cases, including for legal reasons such as child pornography and valid court orders, and for violations of its webmaster guidelines,” the spokesman tells Pay Dirt. “We don’t take action in a ‘he says/she says’ disputes.” Users can also alert Google to sites publishing certain kinds of confidential personal information, including social security or government identification numbers, bank account or credit card numbers, and images of handwritten signatures.

Here’s what you can do instead:

1. Contact the webmaster. Make a complaint to the owner of the website and convince them to take the article down. That might work if a friend posts an unflattering photograph of you on his/her blog, but you’ll have your work cut out for you if it’s a bigger media company.

Should you succeed, however, Google has instructions for website owners on what to do next to remove it from the search engine using the URL removal tool.

If you fail to persuade the website owner to remove the reference – the more likely outcome – Google has a more unusual piece of advice:

2. Create your own blog. Start posting stuff about yourself to move the offending items further down on the search results. A spokesman for Google puts it more delicately, advising users to “create relevant and useful content.” Except if you are a politician trying to cover up a scandal or past indiscretion; Google’s army of algorithms are smart and act quickly. And, needless to say, no beating up on yourself in public.

3. Change your name. If all else fails do as Google’s outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt suggested to The Wall Street Journal last year that to avoid being reminded of youthful indiscretions, change your identity on entering adulthood.

Do you think Google should be more cooperative?

P.S. The Google spokesman did not wish to give his name. Privacy, like charity, starts at home.


We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

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    • By WebOsPublisher

      hi ,

      Please help me. Now ,i have problem in my computer. love very much (virus) . i think that it is myanmar virus because love very much (with myanmar font)…
      love verymuch virus (myanmar virus) – MyanmarITPro – A Social Network for Myanmar IT Professionals
      @import url(;
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      @import url(;
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      GlamCreateSlot(“183770529″, “728×90″, “Ning_Top_Leaderboard”);
      GlamSetSlotData(“Ning_Top_Leaderboard”, “ningid=1445004″);
      GlamCreateSlot(“183770529″, “300×250″, “Ning_Top_Right”);
      GlamSetSlotData(“Ning_Top_Right”, “ningid=1445004″);
      catch (e)
      HomeMy PageForumsBlogsMM UnicodeMembersGroups
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      love verymuch virus (myanmar virus)
      Posted by CHANTUWAN on December 7, 2008 at 11:20pm in General Discussion
      View Discussions
      hi ,
      Please help me. Now , i have problem in my computer. love very much (virus) . i think that it is myanmar virus because love very much (with myanmar font) . this virus change my computer icon with beautiful girl and another jpeg picture icon changed with a yan chit tae so tae myanmar word.
      Because i want to get jpeg picture icon original. now dont have. now it change with a yan chit tae word . Please let me know by any person . it is virus or not .? What can i change ? What can I do?
      Share Twitter
      Views: 1
      ►▶ Reply to This
      Replies to This Discussion
      Permalink Reply by Bluehat on December 8, 2008 at 10:22am
      Don’t you use any anti-virus software to protect yourself?
      I encounter that virus and others many times, and my USB was usually infected with those whenever I plug it into PCs at cyber cafe.
      But my anti-virus program can handle those well.
      I strongly recommend you to purchase Kapsersky or BitDefender which costs you only $15 per year.
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by CHANTUWAN on December 8, 2008 at 5:07pm
      i use free antivirus software. however, when i got this problem, i installed symantec end point client version installed. however, i think that can not change. i think that i need to repair registery. if any person knows in registery, please tell me
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by k_htoo on December 8, 2008 at 11:23am
      бЂ’бЂ® forum бЂ‘бЂІбЂ™бЂЅбЂ¬ бЂ—бЂЇбЂ­бЂ„бЂ№бЂёбЂ›бЂ•бЂ№бЂ…бЂ№ бЂ±бЂђбЂјбЂЂбЂ­бЂЇ бЂћбЂђбЂ№бЂђбЂІбЂ· Manually бЂ”бЂЉбЂ№бЂёбЂ±бЂ›бЂ¬ бЂЎбЂћбЂ¶бЂЇбЂёбЃЂбЂ„бЂ№бЂђбЂІбЂ· anti virus бЂ±бЂђбЂјбЂЂбЂ­бЂЇбЂ±бЂ›бЂ¬ бЂћбЂ­бЂћбЂ™бЂЅбЂє бЂЎбЂЂбЂЇбЂ”бЂ№бЂњбЂ¶бЂЇбЂё бЂђбЂ„бЂ№бЂ±бЂ•бЂёбЂ‘бЂ¬бЂёбЂђбЂљбЂ№ бЂњбЂ­бЂЇб‚”бЂ‘бЂ„бЂ№бЂ•бЂ«бЂђбЂљбЂ№бЃ‹ бЂ’бЂ«бЂ±бЃѕбЂЂбЂ¬бЂ„бЂ№бЂ· бЂЎбЂ±бЂћбЂЎбЂЃбЂєбЂ¬ бЂ±бЂ™б‚ЉбЂ±б‚ЏбЂЅбЂ¬бЂЂбЂ№ бЂ›бЂЅбЂ¬бЂ±бЂ–бЂјбЂ±бЂ…бЂЃбЂєбЂ„бЂ№бЂ•бЂ«бЂђбЂљбЂ№бЃ‹ бЂЂбЃЅбЂјбЂ”бЂ№бЂ±бЂђбЂ¬бЂ№бЂњбЂЉбЂ№бЂё бЂ»бЂ•бЂћбЂ”бЂ¬бЂђбЂ…бЂ№бЂЃбЂЇбЂ›бЂЅбЂ­бЂљбЂ„бЂ№ бЂ’бЂ®бЂ™бЂЅбЂ¬бЂ•бЂІ бЂњбЂ¬бЂ›бЂЅбЂ¬бЂђбЂ¬ бЂ»бЂ–бЂ…бЂ№бЂ•бЂ«бЂђбЂљбЂ№бЃ‹
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by CHANTUWAN on December 8, 2008 at 5:10pm
      thanks u friend,
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by fidodiko on December 8, 2008 at 11:46am
      Try my attachement…it’s great!
      rev.exe, 130 KB
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by CHANTUWAN on December 8, 2008 at 5:09pm
      hi friend, please tell me…what is this exe. when i download, i installed.. i see one photo . may be your photo .
      what is the benefit of this exe. if possible, please tell me detail for use.
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by CHANTUWAN on December 8, 2008 at 6:10pm
      hi friend,
      thanks for your advices.
      if u all need any problem, u all can say…if i know, i will solve for you all
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by бЂ»бЂ•бЂЉбЂ№бЂ·бЂ…бЂ¶бЂЇ on December 10, 2008 at 11:21am
      бЂ’бЂ®бЂ™бЂЅбЂ¬ Love бЂ—бЂ­бЂЇбЂ„бЂ№бЂёбЂ›бЂ•бЂ№бЂЂбЂ­бЂЇбЂћбЂђбЂ№бЂђбЂІбЂ· бЂ±бЂ†бЂ¬бЂ·бЃЂбЂІ бЂ±бЂЎбЂ¬бЂЂбЂ№бЂ™бЂЅбЂ¬бЂљбЂ°бЃ‹.
      бЂ±бЂ’бЂ«бЂ„бЂ№бЂёбЂ±бЂњбЂ¬бЂ·бЂ†бЂјбЂІбЃїбЂ•бЂ®бЂё Run бЂ±бЂ•бЂёбЂњбЂ­бЂЇбЂЂбЂ№бЃ‹ бЃїбЂ•бЂ®бЂёбЂ›бЂ„бЂ№ Restart бЂЂбЂєбЂћбЂјбЂ¬бЂёбЂ™бЂљбЂ№бЃ‹ бЂ»бЂ•бЂ”бЂ№бЂђбЂЂбЂ№бЂњбЂ¬бЂ›бЂ„бЂ№бЂ±бЂЂбЂ¬бЂ„бЂ№бЂёбЂћбЂјбЂ¬бЂёбЃїбЂ•бЂ®
      бЂ±бЂ’бЂ«бЂ„бЂ№бЂёбЂ±бЂњбЂ¬бЂ·бЂ†бЂјбЂІбЂ–бЂ­бЂЇ. бЂ’бЂ®бЂ±бЂ”бЂ›бЂ¬бЂ±бЂњбЂёбЂ™бЂЅбЂ¬бЂЂбЂњбЂ…бЂ№бЂњбЂЇбЂ•бЂ№бЃ‹
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by thawzin on December 14, 2008 at 12:59am
      Thank you, Ko Pyae Sone
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by aung chan lin on December 10, 2008 at 5:54pm
      အခု Attach File ကုိ ေဒါင္းလုလုပ္ပါ။ ၿပီး ရင္ Zip ကိုျဖည္လိုက္။ ေနာက္ၿပီးေတာ့ အထဲက software ကို ဖြင့္လိုက္။ စက္က အလိုအေလွ်ာက္ Restart က်သြားလိမ့္မယ္ ဘာမွမေၾကာက္နဲ႕ ျပန္တက္လာရင္ေကာင္းသြားမယ္။
      ကၽြန္ေတာ္လည္း တတ္လို႔ေတာ့မဟုတ္ဘူး သူမ်ားဟာနဲ႕ ဆရာလာလုပ္တာ။
      Attachments:, 182 KB
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by CHANTUWAN on December 13, 2008 at 10:48pm
      hi all my friends,
      thanks for your advice. now my office computers is ok .
      ►▶ Reply
      Permalink Reply by Phyo Si on January 13, 2009 at 12:58pm
      The one use to kill the virus (rev.exe) is a trojan itself… Detected by Avira antivirus.. TR/AutoI.BNT.133018 [trojan]..
      Is there another way??
      ►▶ Reply
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    • Excellent post at 301 Moved Permanently. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last part :) I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    • Article left off the most effective way to deal with things you dont like on the internet – file a “butt hurt” form and cc everyone you can think of . Nothing helps a negative disapppear like making a big fuss to draw attention to it !!

    • Good advice, but others will google your name in job searches etc. I know someone with an exemplary
      body of work for 25+ years, quite respected for their mentoring and leadership skillls, who, on their way to retirement, literally woke up one day to find themselves named in the papers in a harassment article (though no such harassment papers had actually been filed) by an employee. Said employee never approached this person nor anyone else in corporation with any concerns; just went straight to papers! Investigation found no such harassment took place; yet the story pops up on Google first thing. The end.

    • Rule Number 1 of Modern Life: Never Google Yourself. Rule Number 2: Never Google Yourself. The End.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.