Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Norton’s New Web Tool Aims to Protect Your Online Identity

When things go online, they’re often there for an eternity.  It’s actually a pretty scary thought.  And as many of us know (especially after setting up Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn), reputations can be built or destroyed online in a matter of  Mbps. You've got to be careful—your startup and your well being may be at stake! 

Have you ever done a Google vanity search (also known as egosurfing)?  This simple act of Googling yourself can unveil some good and some bad results.  Is that picture from 2008 Cabo spring break the first thing that pops up on Google or is it your professional bio on LinkedIn?  We certainly hope it’s the latter.

But let’s say that that picture from Cabo does have a high index on Google.  Now, you don’t have to panic.  There is a new tool available that aims to protect your personal online identity. Computer security giant Symantec has released a new feature under its Norton brand known as Norton Top Search.  The web tool grants you the ability to control what is displayed as the top search result for your name for free

To select the top result for your name, all you need to do is fill out the form. After selecting your desired URL (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+), a sample of what the final product will look like is displayed. Top search then confirms your identity via Facebook verification.  
After verification is complete, a message stating “Congratulations! Your online reputation is now protected! You will receive an email in a couple of days when your Top Search Result has been approved and published!” will be sent to you. From my personal experience, I have yet to receive said email approval.

The service utilizes Google AdWords to alter the search results void of cost to the user.

But is Norton Top Search really something new?  Not exactly. In June of 2011, Google introduced its own free tool, “Me on the web” based in Google Dashboard, that claims to do the same as NTS.

As of this time, these services are only available for personal use, whether or not they will be made available for brands and enterprises remains to be seen.

So what are your thoughts? Do you have any online security practices you’re fond of?  How do you protect your online identity? Sound off in the comments below. 

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