According to John Battelle, it's a really big deal. Others are comparing it to a LinkedIn or Facebook killer. Whatever you call it, Google Profiles are here to stay and they can give you a lot more splash for your personal brand. They've been toying with this for a while but it finally launched officially yesterday. The net result is that a customized listing of your info comes up on the bottom of the search page when you type in your name. You can see an example by typing in my name in Google, David Smith, going to the bottom of the page and clicking on my free listing. I like the fact that you can distinguish me from all the other David Smiths in that my picture, company and title are prominently featured.
If you want to set one up for yourself, it's amazingly easy. Just type "me" into the Google search box and you should get a Google self promotion that links you to profiles. This is so new it is not even on their list of beta apps on Google. BTW-you must have a Google account to go any further. You fill out the profile much as you would LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social app. But, like many things Google, you get a few extras that are very impressive. At the bottom, Google shows some various links of your involvement. In this case, it showed my personal and professional blogs, my company url and after a little bit of trundling, came up with this blog and a number of other places where I am on the web. I found it quite easy to include these links in my profile, change the order and then add a few others like Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc. They do all the heavy lifting of pulling up the appropriate logo too.
Where will Google go with this? Hard to say. Will my ranking go up the page as more people search for me and click on the entry? Will they somehow leverage this through adwords or other monetization? Hard to say. But I am impressed. I don't have anything here that you can't already find on the Web. But now, all my links and connections are in one place. Very cool.