Thanks for your question.
In the article in question, the author explains how by spending about
fifteen minutes on Google, he was able to find out a great deal about
a particular person he was researching, including the college the
individual had attended, what he looked like, etc. As the rest of the
article deals with Google generally speaking and the history of
Google, Im assuming this is what you are interested in.
The World According to Google, by Steven Levy. Newsweek 12/16/2002,
In some respects, Googling someone is not that much different from
doing ordinary searching on the Internet. To be successful at it
requires two things: decent searching skills and for the information
to be on the Internet in the first place. It is very possible for
something not to be on the Internet. The other possibility is that if
it is out there, its not necessarily accurate. This and the
techniques described below can all be applied to most anything youd
want to search.
What Does Google Say About You? by Rachel L. Dodes. The Washington
Post, May 12, 2002, H07
What Levy wrote about in the Newsweek piece is not a new phenomenon.
In researching your question, I encountered several articles about how
Googling people is becoming standard practice. Women apparently do
this in checking out men they are interested in dating.
Dont Be Shy, LadiesGoogle Him! Check out his search engine first,
by Deborah Schoeneman. The New York Observer, December 17, 2002
Consider Googling Potential Dates the New Form of Flattery, by
Tanya Bricking. The Honolulu Advertiser, December 17, 2002.
The practice is also becoming common for employers in screening
Playing e-Detective, by Chris Penttila. Entrepreneur Magazine, March
Effectively Googling someone is much the same as effectively
searching for anything. Its helpful to first think about what kind of
and how many search terms to use. A general rule to keep in mind is
that the more you put in, the less youll get back. (e.g. John Paul
Jones will get you less than Jones). Its good to keep in mind that
the reverse holds true.
So how do you effectively search? Its a good idea to think out your
strategy ahead of time. Could the name have an alternative spelling?
Is there a nickname? How unusual or common is the name? If the person
you are looking for has a fairly distinctive name, you might be able
to get away with just entering one word in the search box (e.g.
Bosch). If youre getting too many results to sift through, you add
additional words. If you want to make sure you get a very targeted set
of results, enclose the phrase in (e.g. Hieronymus Bosch).
Depending on the number of results you get, you may want to try
alternate searches. If your search is getting you too many results,
you can add words that might narrow it down. Let me give you an
example of how this might play out:
bosch 2,370,000 results
bosch artist 44,000 results
hieronymus bosch 32,000 results
hieronymus bosch artist 13,300 results
hieronymus bosch artist 12,000 results
How to Become a Good Googler
Now, once youve done that and seen what exists in the way of web
sites, you can also check out what exists in the way of images,
groups, directory, and news. At the top of the search box on the main
Google screen, youll see five tabs. Web is the default. Next to that
is Images. This allows you to search images. You shouldnt need to
re-enter search terms when you click on the tab. One thing to remember
is that this will pull up images based on the text description. If for
instance, theres a picture of the late Hieronymus Bosch thats called
something other than Hieronymus Bosch, we wont be able to pull it up
unless we know or tumble onto the proper text description.
Clicking on the next tab over Groups will pull up Usenet postings.
If the person has participated in various Usenet forums, you can see
their postings and usually the context of the online conversation. You
should be aware of the fact that it is possible for users to keep
their posts from being searchable, and also that finding material in
the archive depends on it having existed in this format in the first
Google Groups Help
Having done that, you might also try the Directory and News tabs (to
the right of the Groups tabs). If its a well-known person, you may
find entries here. If its someone more ordinary, youre less likely
to get hits in these categories.
A couple of other sites you might want to look at:
Privacy a quaint concept: In Internet Age, more of you might be online
than you think
Is Googling O.K.?
I hope this answers your question. If you need additional information,
or if the links do not work, please ask for clarification and Ill do
my best to assist you.