Google announces shutdown of personalized Search feature

By Zion Rufus

Google has announced the discontinuation of its innovative People Cards feature on Search, a tool that aimed to democratize visibility on the internet for those without the fame of celebrities but with the ambition to be found.

Launched with the intention of creating a virtual visiting card for business professionals, performers, and virtually anyone seeking to build an online presence, People Cards allowed individuals to compile and present their websites, social profiles, and other pertinent information directly within Google’s search results.

However, despite the initial enthusiasm and potential benefits, the tech giant has decided to pull the plug on April 7th, 2024, citing the feature’s underwhelming impact on user helpfulness.

Since its inception, Google’s Search has been a gateway to the world’s information, adeptly serving up knowledge panels for well-known personalities. Yet, for the lesser-known or those just embarking on building their digital footprint, the challenge of standing out in a sea of namesakes remained.

People Cards sought to address this, offering a straightforward way for individuals to curate their online identity and enhance their visibility.

Users could easily create a card by logging into their Google Account and searching for their name or the prompt “add me to Search,” allowing them to add personal descriptions, contact information, and links to their digital domains.

However, despite the initial enthusiasm, Google has observed that the People Cards feature did not meet the anticipated utility for users. “While People Cards worked as intended, in the years since its launch, we’ve learned this feature wasn’t as helpful for people as we hoped,” Google stated. Until May 7, 2024, users will have the opportunity to download or save their content before it’s permanently deleted, marking the end of this short-lived feature.

This decision further reveals the challenges tech companies face in creating tools that are both innovative and widely useful. Despite the careful thought and user-friendly design of People Cards, including safeguards against abuse and spam, the feature’s retirement suggests that not all digital innovations capture the lasting engagement of their intended audience.

The discontinuation will exclusively affect People Cards on Google Search, leaving untouched other Google products and services. This specificity indicates Google’s ongoing commitment to refining the search experience, even as it steps back from this particular feature.

The impact of this change extends beyond the practical aspects of creating and managing a People Card. It signals a shift in how personal identities are curated and discovered online.

For millions of influencers, entrepreneurs, prospective employees, self-employed individuals, and freelancers, People Cards offered a streamlined way to be found in an increasingly crowded digital world. The removal of this feature prompts a reconsideration of strategies for online visibility and personal branding.

While the farewell to People Cards may disappoint some, it also reflects Google’s adaptive and responsive approach to its offerings. The evolution of digital tools is an ongoing process, with successes and setbacks alike informing the future of how we interact, share, and exist online.

As Google phases out People Cards, the tech community and its users will undoubtedly watch closely for the next innovation aimed at enhancing our digital identities and connections.


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