Does Google give me too much power?


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I received a call the other day from a potential client.  I was already busy with a client so I didn’t take the call.  No message was left.  However, I checked my caller ID for the number and ran it through Google.  I found a local business in the process.

Now the question becomes, what do I do with this information?  Is there anything I should do?  Should you be concerned?  I think that’s the real question.  I did not contact this potential  client out of fear that I would be considered some kind of crazed lunatic because I would try anything to find out who called me.  Really, all I did was a simple Google search on the phone number.  I do this any time I get a call I don’t recognize on my home number, why not use it on the missed calls on the work number?

Had this been a call from a client, I would have the number in my contact list and could call back and say, “I see that you called.  Is there something you need?”

Going back to the question of whether you should be concerned.  A great deal of our information is available to others on the web.  We have addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, etc.  I’m sure with a little creative searching I could come up with a great deal of information about someone.  I could even pay for a commercial service to come up with MORE information (although I question whether those that advertise as having this information actually have any accuracy).

Among the information on this missed call that I got from Google was a Facebook page.  It wasn’t a user profile, but I’m sure I could figure that out given enough time.  Given this, we should probably be teaching our children how to keep information private.  I didn’t grow in an environment where it was easy to find out whatever I wanted on someone.  If I needed the information that badly, I’d have to hire the likes of Jim Rockford.  Now, I can probably get at least 75% of the required information before needing to hire a professional.

In general, cell phone numbers don’t show up in reverse directory listings.  But with more cell phones being used instead of land lines, it’s more likely that you’d publish your cell number and someone searching could find out that it belongs to you.

You may want to take some time to run all your numbers and other identifying information through Google or some other search engine to see if you can find yourself.  After that, you can take steps to conceal any information you don’t really want public.

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