Before search engines the main way to find someone – when only in possession of their name – was to hire a private investigator. Of course, things have changed a little now; today you can simply use Google to locate and find a majority of the people you would like to find.
But, every now and again, there are times when Google simply isn’t enough and doesn’t yield the returns you are looking for. No fear, there are a plenty of other tools and services on the web which you can use to help you find who you are looking for – and I have described these below.
1. People Search Engines
If Google’s generic search engine has failed you, it could just be that you have been overwhelmed and distracted by the sheer size and variety of the search results. It could pay to use a People Search engine, which focuses and fine tunes Google results and optimizes them for people-finding. There are three people search engines worth checking out. These are:
Yes, they are still around, but these days you can find them on the web; for example, in the U.S., there’s www.whitepages.com and www.numberway.com, just for starters, and in the UK there’s www.192.com and www.bt.com. These will provide you with name, address and phone number.
3. Google News
If you know the name of someone but want to check their media profile and mentions, then the Google News search is a very focused way to do this.
This database contains nearly 90 million records of deceased Americans. Of course this may not help you to actually find someone, but it could help you to confirm whether it is worth starting to look for them.
This is a fee-based, people-finder service. The search results will indicate what information is present out of DOB, phone and address, and you can then choose if you want to buy this data.
6. Social Networks
Even though most of the social network’s people data will show up in Google searches, the listings information is not not necessarily optimized for the Google search, which means that important people data can be easily overlooked. It is best not to rely totally on Google for social network searches and go straight to the source, e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, (check out the Friend Finder tool), and Myspace.
Google makes its third entry in our list, showing that it really is the private eye’s best friend. This enables you to specifically search blogs to see if people get mentioned or if they have written a piece or commented on another piece. It’s an extremely viral way to search and locate people.
8. Book Searches
Both Google and Amazon offer book searches enabling you to search by author. The Google book search will also search the book itself for mention of a name.
9. Business Contacts Database
There are many fee-based business contacts databases on the web. The best of these is probably www.jigsaw.com, but there are many others on the market.
10. Public Records/Electoral Register
In the U.S. and U.K., there are many online providers who will allow you fee paying access to voter records/electoral role.