Home Advice & How-ToGuides There’s a Better Way: Why You Should Stop Googling People
Home Advice & How-ToGuides There’s a Better Way: Why You Should Stop Googling People

There’s a Better Way: Why You Should Stop Googling People

by Fred Decker

What happens when you type your own name into Google?  Chances are, you’ll find some pertinent information about yourself (if you scroll down far enough) but you’ll also see a lot of people who aren’t you.  You might find a namesake who’s a much-loved teacher and coach, a recently deceased birdwatcher, or an actor whose claim to fame is a credit on IMDB as “irate customer #2.”

Choosing between them is easy when you already know the right answer (yourself!), but it’s a lot harder when you don’t.  That’s why you should stop Googling people, and use a specialized people-search tool like Spokeo. 

How Google Changed Searching

The internet was still in its awkward adolescent stage back in the ’90s, when Google came along.  It was growing so rapidly that the early tools people used to find interesting websites, like hand-curated directories, simply couldn’t keep up. 

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The earliest search engines were relatively crude, ranking results by easily manipulated measures, like the number of times a keyword or phrase occurred on a page.  Google co-founder Larry Page, then a grad student at Stanford, reasoned that examining the links between pages would give a better measure of a site’s quality and pertinence. 

That initial insight, combined with a handful of other technological advancements, quickly made Google the world’s dominant search engine.  That being said, despite its prowess, it is only a generalist tool —

 a digital “Swiss army knife,” if you will — and specialized search tools are much better at targeted niches like people searches. 

Why You Should Stop Googling People

Google’s biggest limitation is that it only searches and indexes a relatively small portion of the information that’s out there.  There’s a ton of publicly available information that is skipped by the search giant, either for technical reasons (not everything can be “crawled” by the company’s bots) or because it’s paywalled. 

As it happens, those information sources are often the ones that contain the very information — everything from property records to social media “handles” — that can help you track down the person you’re looking for. 

A further limitation of Google is that, because it’s a general-purpose tool, you’ll need to sift the search results that are pertinent from a very long list of others, which aren’t.  Serious power users can manipulate search filters or use custom-crafted scripts to speed the process, but not everyone has those skills.  For the rest of us, it comes down to the old-fashioned drudge work of slogging through thousands of results to find the handful we wanted.  It’s a limited number of needles in a very large haystack.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

It’s much easier to find the person you’re looking for when you use specialized people-search tools like Spokeo. 

Suppose you have just an email address, and want to track down the person behind it.  On Google, all you’ll get is results where that email is visible on a publicly linkable page.  If you use Spokeo’s reverse email lookup instead, you’ll get a much richer set of results.  You’ll see the full range of publicly available information for that person, which — in a given instance — might include anything from phone numbers to a physical address, property ownership, age or even (if you’re checking out your new crush) marital status and profiles from dating and social media sites. 

You can leverage that information, in turn, to get a really complete picture. Searching the person’s name, physical address or phone number can bring up other details, such as property records or additional emails, and by the time you’ve worked through those you’ll know pretty clearly whether it’s the person you’re looking for. 

Spokeo Has Your Back

There are as many reasons to use people search as there are Spokeo users.  You might just want to reconnect with old friends or track down a long-lost cousin, or on a more serious note, you might have concerns that you’re being “catfished” or scammed online.  Spokeo’s search tools can definitely help you ease your mind, or find the person you’re looking for. 

The world, and especially the online world, is a big and confusing place.  Where your online and offline lives intersect, Spokeo’s goal is to bring openness and transparency to your interactions with others.  We can help you find the information you need to live confidently in the modern world, no matter how tech-savvy (or otherwise) you may be.