After reading numerous posts about Google search options to find people online, I decided to write this post. I will talk about the best Google people search tips and tricks. I will also list my references of the posts I read before coming up with this article.
Google is one of the most used search engines in the world. According to expandedramblings.com, they have over a 100 billion searches every month with 1.17 billion unique monthly searchers. This means that with these many users, there is vast information on people that can be found from this search engine alone. Which is why you will need tips and tricks to start your search.
Use Google as a people search engine and search by….
In my previous posts, I talked about different reverse searches that can be conducted. Some of them include; a name search and phone number search among others. In the following extract, I will point out how you can use Google as a people search engine.
Doing a name search on Google may be one difficult task. But don’t worry, you can always consider this search as a ‘clue’ search. Meaning that, you will do the name search on the search engine and get numerous results to swift through. While going through the results, look out for pictures, social profiles and other info related to the name you typed in. You will then take that info and do advanced searches that will give you more useful data.
Phone number search
Since Google got rid of their phone book in 2010, you now need a bit more info on a person if you find their phone number. This does not mean that the search is impossible, it just means that it is not as easy as it used to be. But if you type in the number you have in the search bar, you still get results that may be helpful. The data returned is of people search sites, so you can go to these different sites and search through their results.
If you have an email address, you can use it to do a google people search. You would have to type it in to the search bar. The results will be of possible name matches. For example, if you were to type in ‘email@example.com’ the results will include all firstname.lastname@example.org that they have in their database. This means that if there is a person with an email like email@example.com, they would be part of your results.
Photo or image searches on Google work best if the picture you have has been posted online (prio/previously) and google has indexed the image. The trick is to have the picture saved somewhere on your computer or gadget where you can easily access it. On google images, you can upload the image, and if they have it in their database, it will appear in the results, along with similar images.
Use Google alerts
Google alerts is how people stay up to date wit almost everything. Google alerts, according to wikipedia, is a content change detection and notification service offered by the search engine company Google. Below, I will show you how to set them up and how they work.
Setup Google Alerts
As a test, let us set up an alert for the name ‘Mandy Rosary Smith’. This means we want to know anytime anything about the specified name surfaces on the net. On the Google alerts page, on the search bar, there is ‘create an alert about’. That is where we will type the name.
Before we click the create alert button (circled in red), let us look through the alert preview. This is what is available on the name we typed (it may not be new data).
If we click on the show options, we have these available to choose from.
After choosing the right options we can then create the alert. We can then go to our alert settings and choose how we want to receive these alerts.
We can then save and wait for the alerts to start pouring in.
Another Google search trick that can be used to do a person search, is using quotes. Using quotes usually means that ‘I only want results for what I put in quotes.’ This means that if there are similar results that don’t have the words in quotes, those results will not be shown. An example here would look something like this:
Notice how all the results are only of the words put in quotes.
The results above are different from a search without the quotes. An example of results of a search without the quotes would look like the ones below.
When you use a hyphen, you are simply telling Google to give you results minus the hyphenated words. A hyphen is mostly used when you search for something that usually has more than one meaning. For example, if you search for Jaguar, you will get results of both the car and the animal. But if you only want results of the car you can say; jaguar -animal. Your results will only have results of the car.
Even when doing a Google people search, you can use the same method. If you want a person camed Mandy R Smith, you can instruct Google to only look for the name but exclude facebook users. To do that, you can type; Mandy R Smith -Facebook. The results here won’t have the facebook profiles of the given name. In this example, you can do that if you know for certain that the person you are searching for doesn’t have a facebook account.
You can use this Google search trick with other options. These may be other social networks (twitter, linkedin, instagram, etc) or people search sites (intelius, spokeo, whitepages, etc). When dong the search, make sure that there is no space between your hyphen and your search term. When typing it, it has to sound like you are saying; whatever you want, minus the search term of what you don’t want.
One other google search tip that goes with the hyphen, is the plus sign. You can use this one if you want the results to include only the search term you add after the + sign. For example; Mandy R Smith +Facebook. The results here will only include facebook profiles.
Use other Google tabs (news, images, videos, more)
Another way to google people is to use google’s other tabs. These tabs may be news, images, videos and many more. The trick is to type in whatever person’s info you have (either a name, location or email address or phone number). When the results come back (in about 0.33 seconds) instead of reading through them, click on another tab to see what they have there.
This tab usually has news (both old and up to date). You can sift through the news to see if you won’t get any news that may help with your search. It may even be that the person you want was reported missing at some point and here you will find an update on where they are with the search. This may even give you more info for your search.
Using this tab is different from trying to find a person using an image (image search). You go to this tab to see the images associated with the information you typed in the search bar. As stated above, the info may be anything from a name to a number. You can then search through the images to try and find the person you want.
This tab will give you videos associated with the name or data you put in the search bar. These videos are anything from youtube videos to any personal videos people post on their sites. As long as they have your search term, they will probably appear here. You can watch them to see if you can get any info that may be useful.
When you click on the ‘more tab’ for this search term, you will get additional options like maps, books and flights (as shown in example below).
Just like with the other tabs, if there is information related to your search term on these tabs, it will be made available. With some of them, you might need to provide additional data for it to show you data that may make sense. For example, if you go to the maps tab, the search term we used before may not be of any use. Instead, you will get the following page:
For this one, you may need to provide at least a city, state or a zip code to get anything useful.
If all that I have shared above still doesn’t give you anything, then it’s time to bring out the big guns. Google advanced search.
To do an advanced search, you have to fill in all the data that is needed (as shown in image below).
With the data you have at hand, you can fill in ‘your’ relevant data. If some of the fields don’t apply to what you want, then you can leave them blank.
You can then use the options (in image above) to narrow down your results.