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How Google+ users’ profile photos can embarrass employers

gadgets Updated: Sep 08, 2011 14:33 IST

Experts have warned that blending personal data with professional data can cause trouble for Google+ users and the companies they belong if they aren’t careful.

Google+ is raising questions about how personal and professional information can be combined in potentially embarrassing ways for companies.

For example, if you’ve written an article or blog post for a company and you have a Google+ profile, you can opt in to a feature that allows Google to display your profile picture next to search results of your story or post.

And experts warn that Google+ users should be cautious about enabling this feature.

“Blending personal data with professional data can be troubling,” Live science quoted John Fairley, director of Web services and social media for Walker Sands Communications, a marketing firm, as saying.

“Your Google+ profile picture of you in Halloween costume could be shown next to a company blog post in Google search results,” Fairley waned.

However, in order for the image to be eligible to appear as a thumbnail in search results, it has to be a headshot image, which may limit the room for embarrassment.

Personal activities promoted through social media could still have an impact on the reputation of a publicly traded company, he stated.

Even if a user left an employer, cached results would still show the user’s Google+ image next to a company’s name.

“Images can show up without someone explicitly looking for information about a company, so it can cause a lot of problems for the company and the Google+ user if they aren’t careful,” Fairley added.

A Google spokesperson noted that the feature is also of interest to Web surfers in general who may be curious to learn more about the authors of the posts they read.

“People discovering content on the Web often want to learn more about its author, see other content by that author and even interact with them,” a Google spokesperson told TechNewsDaily.