Search Marketing,

A Flaw in Google’s People Identification – and the Danger

Good friend Brett Evans brought an interesting search result to my attention. When some folks search for Douglas Karr, the context of the sidebar is filled with information about the film producer (not me), but with my photo.

douglaskarr-google-search

The fascinating thing is that there’s no connection between the Wikipedia data and my Google+ profile. There’s no link on his Wikipedia that relates to me, there’s no link on my Google+ profile that links to his Wikipedia page… so how did Google+ decide that were were somehow one in the same? (I used to have a Wikipedia page, but they deleted it when I corrected some of the information that was wrong.)

Our SEO Analyst started a thread about it in his SEO group on Google+ and many commented how Google has quite an impressive disambiguation algorithm… but it still failed here. I wasn’t too concerned about it until JC Edwards brought up an alarming question:

Luckily this case involved a film director, what would have happened if it was child molestor or murderer and they showed this guys face?

That’s a very scary thought! And it seems bizarre that Google would assume the identification of a person and not actually verify it or validate with that person. They do this when it comes to businesses, products and trademarks… wouldn’t people be just as important? I see trouble on the horizon!

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