In another expansion of its Profiles site, Google has enabled people to share their contact information with selected contacts, a move that offers modest convenience for users of the service and valuable data to Google.
The feature shows as a "Contact info" tab; clicking on it shows whatever contact information you've entered and the note, "You are not sharing your contact information with anyone. Edit your profile to add contact info, and then choose who to share it with so that they always have the most up-to-date information."
Google Profiles is hardly a Facebook crusher or a LinkedIn slayer, but it is getting gradually more elaborate, as Google builds it up. In October, user profiles became visible to search engines. In November came identity authentication and a mechanism to let people contact you without sharing your e-mail address.
Here's why this Profiles move is interesting: telling Google whom you entrust with your personal information is a good way of identifying the close members of your social circle--in other words, the strong links in your social graph. … Read more