Google wants your photo.
In what seems like a desperate attempt to get more people to use the very limp Google Plus social network, or to get people to hand over more of their personal information, Google is trialling the display of author information (i.e. your mugshot) in search results. If you are an author, you now have the opportunity to display a recognisable head photograph next to the articles that you have written or contributed to when they appear in the search results. According to Google, author mugshots will:
help users to discover great content
but refuses to say exactly how.
The main catch with the ‘mugshot-enhanced-search’ is that you need a Google Plus profile to activate the feature. No other social network even gets a look-in. After activating your profile in the lonely expanses of Google Plus, you need to upload the most criminal-looking mugshot you can find (preferably a police photograph, a booking photograph, or a photographic portrait taken after you were last arrested). You then have 2 options to link the mugshot to your author content:
- Link with a verified email address (an email address on the same domain as your content), or
- Link your content using the
The final step is to list your blog or website on your Google Plus profile ‘about’ page and list yourself as a ‘contributor’.
Invented by Allan Pinkerton in the 19th century, mugshots first gained popularity on Wanted posters in the Wild West days. Since the advent of computer technology, accused people no longer need to hold a placard with their name, DOB, and–god forbid–weight.
As usual, Google makes no guarantee that they will display your mugshot. They refuse to reveal the criteria whereby they rank photographs, but our initial research seems to reveal that fat or slightly chubby people seem to rank higher, leading for calls from search engine optimisation professionals to reintroduce weight-revealing placards.
If we are going to be outranked by chubbys, we need to know by how many pizzas.