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Google Just Made Googling Yourself Much More Useful

It sounds dirty, but everyone does it. Googling yourself, or "performing a vanity search" as they say in polite company, is incredibly common. It's a rudimentary way to see what your internet footprint looks like, and to discover what kind of information Google has on you.

Now, Google has finally given Googling yourself the attention it deserves. The search engine is adding a host of new features that make vanity searches much more helpful, to busy legal professionals and everyone else. You'll be able to easily find information on your Google accounts when you Google yourself, including security and privacy information. And you can even use Google to find your lost phone.

Go on, Google Yourself

Google's new self-Googling features focus on two areas: getting you more information about your account, more easily, and making sure you can find your misplaced cell phone.

Under the changes, which are being rolled out over the next few weeks, users who type their own name into a Google search will get an "account card" linking them to their account settings. The card will be in the upper-right corner of the search page, so you'll still be able to see normal results. Click "go to my account" and you'll be able to see your account preferences, personal information, and security settings.

Similarly, if you Google "I lost my phone," Google is there to help you out. We're not sure what people would expect to find when searching "I lost my phone," but apparently it's a common search -- and it will actually be a useful one, now. When you Google the phrase, you'll be prompted to sign up for location tracking security features that can be used to locate a lost or stolen phone or tablet.

Managing Privacy and Security on Google

Google, whose job was once to connect users to other websites, is now focused on keeping much of the search experience in-house, and these changes seem to be a part of that trend. But they're also an effort to make privacy and security information more accessible, the company says.

When you Google yourself and click through to "my account" (or if you just go to myaccount.google.com, like a normal person) you can easily perform a security and privacy checkup.

The security checkup will guide you through some basic steps you can take to improve security, like setting a recovery phone number and finding out what devices are connected to your account. The privacy checkup is similar, allowing you to toggle information you share with others, including Google's advertisers.

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