Can Google Kill the Business Card? 
India Is About to Find Out

Google might be about to disrupt the business card — and it’s starting with a trial in India.

In a new blog post, the company announced it is rolling out its ‘people cards’ across the country. It’s like a business card that will appear on top of Search when someone looks up your name. Google first began trialing the feature about six months ago, and it seems it’s finally ready to make it more widely available.

Up until now, you could only find detailed information about celebs and well-known public figures on Search, but the latest change will make it possible for civilians to control what people see when someone searches their name.

“If you’re a business professional, performer, or anyone looking to build up your online presence, you might have a website, social profiles, and other information spread across many sites,” Google product manager Lauren Clark said. “If you’re just getting started, you may not have a website or much of an online presence at all.”

“Today, we are solving these challenges with a new feature called people cards,” she added. “It’s like a virtual visiting card, where you can highlight your existing website or social profiles you want people to visit, plus other information about yourself that you want others to know.”

To create a ‘people card,’ you need to simply log into your Google account, search for your name or “add me to Search,” and then follow the prompt. You can then choose a profile pic (it will default to your Google account avatar), craft a description for yourself, and also add social media links and contact details.

In case you were worried about your privacy, the feature seems to be opt-in – and you can always delete your card if you so wish.

Google will allow only one card per account to prevent malicious actors from impersonating real people. It’ll also ask you to authenticate your account with a phone number. In case fraudulent cards slip through the cracks, there’ll also be a dedicated button to report them.

Alright, but what about people who share the same name, you might wonder. Well, Google says there will be a module that lets you compare people based on their location and profession, which should make it easier to find the right person.

That said, there are specific challenges ahead of it. The fact that Google highlighted the numerous measures it has taken to prevent abuse makes it abundantly clear that the company foresees certain issues with the new feature. If it manages to stop users from gaming the system to gain an unfair advantage, ‘people cards’ can kill the business card as we know it.


Subscribe to Technology This Week