Who did what to whom on the Web - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Who did what to whom on the Web

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Posted: Monday, January 12, 2004 8:46 am | Updated: 5:22 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The word isn’t listed in Webster’s dictionaries yet, but "Googling" someone means to run their name through an Internet search engine to find information about them.

Usually it’s an upcoming date, but it’s also been done for job candidates and other potential hires. Or maybe you’re just nosy — er, inquisitive.

In a recent episode of the HBO series "Sex and the City," Carrie Bradshaw Googled her new lover when she decided she might want the relationship to get serious. She was shocked and dismayed to find a screenful of published articles and photos documenting the Russian artist as a well-known ladies’ man.

Carrie’s a lousy journalist — she could’ve found so much more on her prospective beau with just about the same number of keystrokes.

A quick run through www.google.com only hits the surface. To get a person’s phone number and address at Google, type "phonebook:" followed by their name and city. (This only works with listed phone numbers, and not cell phones.)

Those who want to search a bit deeper — private investigators, vengeful exes — head straight to public information Web sites. Just remember: One person’s "curiosity" is another person’s "invasion of privacy," and not too many people will react well if they discover you looked up their house valuation and number of bathroom fixtures in it before you agreed to meet them for drinks.

www.maricopa.gov. The "Quick Links" section of Maricopa County’s Web site includes: "Case history," a link to criminal Superior Court cases (not finding someone’s name here is a good thing); "recorded docs," documents on file with the county recorder’s office; and "residential parcels," which reveals the valuation and characteristics of every house in the county.

www.choicepoint.net. For a fee, this site performs criminal searches ($25.95); and background checks for employees who might work in your home, such as nannies, tutors, pet sitters and house cleaners ($54 to $99).

www.bbb.org. Before you hire a painter, handyman or other contractor, it’s a good idea to run the business through the Better Business Bureau site to see if a report has been filed against them.

www.googlism.com. Like a sorbet after a meal, finish off any search with this Google spinoff. It’s not a search engine, but instead uses Google results to reveal references about your subject. With each sentence’s cutoff point apparently randomly selected, the end result can be somewhat haiku; a search on Gov. Janet Napolitano includes these lines: "Janet Napolitano is circulating throughout," "Janet Napolitano is not quite," "Janet Napolitano is against the plan," "Janet Napolitano is holding on to a two" and "Janet Napolitano is nervous."

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