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Googling For Dates? 447

JAK writes "The New York Times' down-to-earth ethicist Randy Cohen writes on the moral implications of searching for a date's past on Google. He suggests that the practice is ok (even admitting to doing it himself) but warns against jumping to conclusions based on a quick search or confusing someone for others with the same name. He also writes that "the verb ''to Google'' is now a familiar neologism" (neologism: a new word, usage, or expression, I looked it up). You can read about it The Times (free reg blah blah)"
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Googling For Dates?

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  • Grr (Score:5, Funny)

    by helix400 ( 558178 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:17AM (#4896861) Journal
    You mean the web may have factual mistakes?

    This could threaten the whole concept of this "internet" fad forever! =)

  • googling (Score:5, Funny)

    by xavii ( 92017 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:18AM (#4896865)
    so me and this girl are totally googling and she's all like if you google me first i'll totally google you. so i get all set to google and she backs out grabs her google and googles the fuck out of there. something about my website. i don't know. google her and the horse she googled in on.
    • Re:googling (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
    • Re:googling (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ryochiji ( 453715 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:44AM (#4897196) Homepage
      Am I the only one who interpreted "Googling for a date" to mean "Use google to find a date"?

      Actually, that wouldn't be a bad idea: a Google-based dating service. A match-making algorith can't be that different to a search algorithm, could it?
      • Re:googling (Score:4, Funny)

        by D+iz+a+n+k+Meister ( 609493 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:55AM (#4897220) Journal
        All you'd get would be people searching for "Open Source Thong," etc. ;-)
      • Re:googling (Score:5, Funny)

        by Stormie ( 708 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @05:57AM (#4897517) Homepage

        Am I the only one who interpreted "Googling for a date" to mean "Use google to find a date"?

        Maybe. I interpreted it as typing something like "September 23" into Google to see what happened on that date in the past. Fucked if I could figure out how that could possibly be unethical. Then I read the article and figured out that I'd gotten confused by the USian slang..

        • Re:googling (Score:3, Interesting)

          by _xeno_ ( 155264 )
          Hey, I am a USian (or whatever - I'm fine with USian), and I thought that's what they meant too. Until I remembered a story about "Googling" on NPR's [] Wait Wait -- Don't Tell Me! [] quiz show, then I was able to piece it together.

          Although it could be that I'm just unfamiliar with the whole "dating" thing altogether, I hear it involves someone of the opposite sex or something? :)

          (And if you don't wanna follow the links, NPR = National Public Radio, a fairly liberal radio network that is mostly funded by donations from listeners. Wait Wait -- Don't Tell Me! is a "news quiz show" that usually focuses on the weirder and more obscure news items - it's rather humorous, generally.)

      • Re:googling (Score:4, Funny)

        by necrognome ( 236545 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @08:42AM (#4897924) Homepage
        A match-making algorith can't be that different to a search algorithm, could it?
        I've skimmed through all of my textbooks on algorithms, including Knuth, and I have yet to find a search algorithm as simple and elegant as this match-making "formula":

        CH3 CH2 OH
      • by duck_prime ( 585628 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:02PM (#4899668)
        We pause here to note that Google's ranking algorithm is popularity based. You're looking for the girl that has been "linked" the most. Jesus, dude, why not just read the bathroom walls?
  • by afra242 ( 465406 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:19AM (#4896868)
    I am sure everytime I apply for a job, employers scan through Google searching for my name. After all, it was what this article [] was about.

    But then again, whether for dating purposes, or otherwise, why would I put up a page saying something that I may regret later? I am aware that search engines will pick up these pages. I suppose I would be a bit worried if something was out there against me that I had no full control over.
    • by Burnon ( 19653 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:24AM (#4896901)
      Just wait for day when a web spider gets smart enough to correlate blog user IDs to real names. I sure hope I never get my real name correlated against Anonymous Coward - I'd never get a smart date again!
    • by Jordy ( 440 ) <jordan@snocap . c om> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:33AM (#4896950) Homepage
      I admit I have done this many times after interviewing people as a last check before hiring them. It is especially helpful when the perspective person is an active member of mailing lists that are archived on the web or on usenet for determining the technical skill of someone while they are doing something freelance such as linux kernel.

      I imagine that this sort of thing will evolve into something a bit more formal, a Personal Information Agency (PIA) located offshore that maintains a database of everyone.

      Companies could let them setup cameras in stores in return for having them do targeted marketing. Image recognition could be setup to determine who your friends are (who you are seen with on more than one occasion) and more!

      Or not.
      • by bLanark ( 123342 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @06:12AM (#4897556)
        I admit I have done this many times after interviewing people as a last check before hiring them.

        I have too. Funniest one was a guy who had posted in some kind of student self-help forum, basically his advice was "have a wank; I do it all the time".

        I must pop onto google groups and ask them to remove all my semi-humorous usenet posts from their archive, and only leave the saintly helping-out-users posts. It can only help.
        I'm lucky to have a pretty common name (sorta equivalent to "John Smith" where I come from), but this goes both ways - posts might be attributed to me when they're not mine, or they might be attributed to others when they are.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:59AM (#4897055)
      both on and *off* the web that I'm not about to start worrying about it now. More to the point, I 've said a good deal that a prospective date or employer will take offense at that *I don't regret at all.*

      As my sweet, little old granny used to say, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke."

      If things I've written are going to deny me a particular date/job as far as I'm concerned better finding out now than later. It saves us all a lot of unneeded pain and suffering in the long run.

      I'm dead serious and I'm not about to go about my life worrying about what some future unnamed and unknowable personage is going to think about me because of something I believed or said once upon a time.

      Like me or dislike me. I don't really care in particular. *Someone* likes me. I'll go hang out with them.

      Hell, there are even people who like RMS. Go figure.

    • why would I put up a page saying something that I may regret later?

      Don't just consider web pages, but if you post news non-anonymously (or to /. non-anonymouly) it isn't just the carefully considered rant that is archived forever more, but every ill-considered flamage as well. Having posted to news from well before "dejanews", I was a bit surprised, and not entirely pleased that my posting history back to 1996 is available.

      On the otherhand, I do choose to post non-anoymously. While that has some problems, it does mean that not only do I consider what I might regret later, anybody reading my posts can expect that I consider what I might regret later. That might add a smidgen of credibility (which of course can be squandered easily).

    • by ryochiji ( 453715 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:35AM (#4897166) Homepage
      I try to have a good resume, keep up my GPA, keep a clean traffic record and on top of all that, I have to keep a clean Google Record []. Who says it's easy living in the information age?
    • Given the vast amount of information on the internet, it is not unlikely that while googling for a certain person, you will find someone else entirely. If you really know nothing at all about the person you're looking for (for example, if you're looking up a blind date or a job applicant), there is no way for you to know if you're reading about your person or someone else.

      For example, I just did a google search for my own name, and could not find my website or, for that matter, anything else affiliated with me in the top 50 links. However, I did find a lawyer, a statistician, a food expert, a college professor, a witness testimony, a sex offender, and an author with the same name as myself. If my date is googling for me, is she supposed to think I'm the professor or the sex offender?

      The chances of getting incorrect information makes googling seem far too risky in my opinion. Has anyone else had better luck finding accurate information?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:19AM (#4896870)
    Google News provides a reg-free link to the NYTimes article on Google:

    Is Googling OK? []

    • *snicker* (Score:3, Funny)

      by Polyphemis ( 450226 )
      Am I the only one that finds it fiercely ironic that Google is providing regstrationless entry into a registration-only New York Times article talking about the ethics of using Google? :)
  • by brad-x ( 566807 ) <> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:19AM (#4896874) Homepage

    You never know when something as innocuous as a screen name [] can reveal some interesting facts about people.

    Sometimes the people you associate with may even have entire second lives or hidden secrets online. Background checking people is a smart and healthy thing to do, in my opinion.

  • Of a more general principle. It's not per se a bad thing to check up on people who you plan to share intimate time/contact/etc with. Just be careful that you don't let your imagination run away with you, or believe everything you hear. I'm sure I've seen the concept played out in many a movie/television show/etc.

    It's just a general principle of being wary, both of walking blindly into relationships and blindly following the words of others. Google simply provides a new path to doing background research on people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:20AM (#4896876)
    In case I ever date a women who has done porn, I'll probably know.
  • and found out she had lived in all 50 states of the USA, with about 60 different addresses in each one. Barbara, I would have loved you but you googled out to be really bloody sketchy.
  • by Nefrayu ( 601593 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:20AM (#4896881) Homepage
    I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but if you're going to use the net to search for info on anyone, I'd suggest using other things than just Google. For example, I used free memberships to a couple of online dating sites to not only find out more about my date, but I had naked pic's of her before we even decided on where to go to dinner! Now that's using the net to find useful information!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I sincerely hope it will never become possible to Google on surf behaviours in the early/mid-nienties... Those dates... Those days... [blushing]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:22AM (#4896889)
    Willow: "Have you tried Googling her?"

    Xander: "Willow, she's only 17!"

    And here's a Google cartoon [] from the New Yorker.
    • Listening to your Aunt Millie when she says, "One of the girls at the spa has a nice daughter."
    • Listening to your buddies talk about how the waitress is in bed, with you knowing they couldn't score with her with a roll of hundreds.
    • Writing prisoners in jail
    • Using a dating service that doesn't provide video or pictures

    All small sources of info, but not worth a damn when it comes to a person!
  • by VoidEngineer ( 633446 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:23AM (#4896900)
    I sense that there is some relationship between 'googlewhacking' and finding an available and attractive person of the opposite sex who is listed on google. But I'm not sure how to define it...
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:24AM (#4896906) Homepage Journal
    At what point does snooping around for information on others cross the line into stalking?

    Good thing I have a common first and last name, there's at three people in my urban area with the same name and one famous author, too.

    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by becktabs ( 628093 )
      i the point where you break into their wireless lan to google about them from there.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:52AM (#4897031)
      "At what point does snooping around for information on others cross the line into stalking?"

      My personal litmus test: When you start to spend money.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by GMontag ( 42283 ) <> on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:01AM (#4897235) Homepage Journal
      At what point does snooping around for information on others cross the line into stalking?

      In a word, never.

      Even though the term "stalking" has been over used into near meaninglessness, using research tools *never* becomes "stalking" as in physically following someone around.
    • I'll answer that (Score:3, Informative)

      by The Tyro ( 247333 )
      As long as the person never finds out about it, you are A-OK. It's not illegal to do research; it's what you do with that research that makes or breaks you.

      Most anti-stalking statues have a clause or two about putting the "stalkee" in fear, emotional distress, or causing intimidation. You typically also have to show a pattern of such behavior... a single incident does not a stalker make.

      Think about all the drooling britney spears fanboys out there (like 95% of slashdotters... cmon, it's cool to hate her music, but ALL of you geeks secretly want her body... admit it). They are not guilty of stalking simply because they plaster their room with pictures, and constantly google the 'net for new britney sites.

      Stalking implies much more than just a google search.
  • Good for bad. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Martigan80 ( 305400 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:24AM (#4896907) Journal
    This can be a new way of screwing with some one. Just imagine faking their names and then posting or doing business with some questionable sights. This Google report would seem to hold as much weight as an Equifax report, probably as damaging too!
  • by edhall ( 10025 ) <> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:28AM (#4896924) Homepage

    A lot of folks I know use Google to check out resumes and otherwise see what sort of projects a job candidate has been up to. People used to use DejaNews (back before it was "Google Groups") to do the same thing.

    I'll not comment on whether I consider this ethical or not, but it makes a certain practical sense. But it makes a bit less sense for a date, however, given that the person's online persona may be under a different name, or may be partly or wholly an invention. Still, if I'm dating a (presumed) professional who is likely to have formal or informal writings that may be on the web, it would make sense to "check." I'd personally feel icky doing so, but others wouldn't have qualms...

  • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:31AM (#4896933) Homepage Journal
    This really does sound like one of those "In Soviet Russia" jokes: First stalk her, THEN date her.

    Seriously, is it going to become necessary for women to get preemptive restraining orders against guys they haven't dated yet, to keep from being stalked on line "as a precautionary measure?" And on the gripping hand, how can we condemn the Feds for doing this kind of thing wholesale, when we aren't above doing it on a piecemeal basis, with no oversight or regulatory structure to govern our actions?

    Just a thought or two...
    • Seriously, is it going to become necessary for women to get preemptive restraining orders against guys they haven't dated yet, to keep from being stalked on line "as a precautionary measure?"

      Wow, this "stalking" word/concept has taken on a wild life of it's own. Back in my day, "to stalk" actually required followning the prey in person!

      Do people, now, seriously use this term to mean a thought crime of some sort? Does going to the library to lookup someone's past print work count in this new thought crime of "stalking"? "Your Honor, we have his library records, he was looking up English papers at my old college..."

      Do the people that keep expanding this term, both in common language as well as in the law, think Orwell's fiction is some sort blueprint of a perfect society?
  • Not a good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 2MuchC0ffeeMan ( 201987 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:31AM (#4896938) Homepage
    there's a child molester in a neighboring state with the same name as me.

    there was a warrent out for his arrest, long story short, the cop didn't believe that i wasn't him. fun night.

    anyway, if someone was to look me up on google, they would find a sexual predator? great. gotta love free information.

    i'm all for megan's law ... just not against the 'victims' of it. the internet can be a useful tool, and a horrible device.

    • by nounderscores ( 246517 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:51AM (#4897026)
      The other Too Much Coffee Man [] is a CHILD MOLESTER??!?

      Say it aint so!
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:37AM (#4897173)
      the impossibilty of seperating the 'victims' of Megan's law from its intended 'perps.'

      I rather suspect that you weren't exactly treated in a real 'innocent until proven guilty' manner either. As you say, "fun night."

      *All* laws that seek to 'preempt' crime create a class of innocent vitims. Some of them have their lives ruined beyond repair. Be greatful it was only your night that was 'fun.'

      I'd go so far as to state that preemptive laws create many, many more innocent 'victims' of law than they save actual vitims of crime.

      Have you read the so called "Patriot" Act? Hell, from now on it doesn't even necessarily *matter* if you're innocent or guilty.

  • Why not trust the other person to tell you about themselves and their past? Seems to me this is a way to look for any faults you can find in someone. Sounds like a sure fire way to end a relationship to me.

    You: "Honey, I was just on google. Says on there that you once did (insert stupid mistake or whatever).

    SO:"Oh really? So, how long have you been checking up on me?"

    You: "Oh, I just wanted to see..."

    SO: "Well, how about you see the door as it hits your butt on the way out?"
  • Google icon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Banjonardo ( 98327 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:33AM (#4896951) Homepage
    I ask, once again, for a google icon. fourth story in less than a week.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:35AM (#4896959)
    Sign of the impending apocalypse:

    Slashdot editor looks up word in dictionary.

    Film at 11.
  • Ok? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bendebecker ( 633126 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:35AM (#4896962) Journal
    He suggests the practice is ok?

    Does that mean its like maybe sort of alright?

    Also, I would recommend against it. Finding out things about your girlfriend that she din't want to tell you is liek opening up old wounds. Somethings are best left in the past. It also indicates a lack of trust in a relationship taht you feel you have to go behind the other persons back.
    Then there is the age old porno problem: You will start thinking about your girlfriend differently after you see her amateur nude photos on the web. It's like discovering your girlfriend posed for playboy: the moment she finds out you know, your relationship will fall apart.
    • Re:Ok? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moofie ( 22272 )
      In my opinion, anything I post on the Internet is fair game. Anybody who is dumb enough not understand that there may be more than one person with my name referenced on the Internet is not worth my time.

      As long as the people doing the searching aren't idiots, there is nothing wrong with this practice. If they are idiots, well, they're idiots.
    • Re:Ok? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rhinobird ( 151521 )
      Dude, seriously, return that 'Chasing Amy' video back to the video store.
  • by eggboard ( 315140 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:36AM (#4896966) Homepage
    In the dim recesses of Internet memory, AltaVista was king. I was working for, and a mutual friend suggested that the woman who is now my wife give me a ring to talk about working for a dotcom.

    We met, hit it off, started dating, and five years later (this last Labor Day), got married.

    Some dates after we met, she told me that she looked me up on AltaVista after she'd met me, and found 40,000 matches. (I was moderating the Internet Marketing Discussion List,, and my name appeared on every post in the archives, which themselves appeared to be at many different domains.)

    She said, if I'd looked you up beforehand I never would have called you. She would have been intimidated.

    Thank goodness for a little lack of knowledge.
  • by Nathdot ( 465087 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:37AM (#4896968)
    If this practice takes off you can guarantee we'll be setting up a few impartial "third party" websites that bespeaks a plethora of praise in our own honor.

    Each site'll have a whole bunch of meta tags, something like:

    Simply by flooding the source of information she'll be hard pressed if she can ever find that juvie record for arson and wilfull destruction of property.

    Think Different.
  • I find it strange (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:41AM (#4896987) Journal
    that someone wouldn't do this. People have been talking about each other over the back fence since man could speak. Gossip is a daily ritual in every office, school and even church. The advent of 'reality-based' tv (which usually put people in situtions that are anything but real), x10 cameras, keyloggers and the like, only brings technology to the equation. People are still doing what they always did, though with an assumed anonymity that doesn't really exist.

    Small towns are truly a place where everyone *wants* to know your business, and it is assumed that you will be forthcoming with details of any knowledge you have of activities of interest. I live in a small town (moved from a city) and refrain from such gossip.

    Interestingly,(and somewhat obviously)the less that people know about you, the more interesting you seem. If someone really wants to know something about me, all they need to do is ask.

    It seems that technology, designed to facilitate communication, is only training people to communicate in a more impersonal way. Little glowing screens and and text messages, video phones, and what-have-you will not replace the immersion of face to face contact for an intimate relationship.

    Besides, all that Google stuff about me having sex with midgets and pumpkins was taken totally out of context.

  • by deus_X_machina ( 413485 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:48AM (#4897015)
    That's very interesting. The other day a less computer saavy buddy of mine came over looking for some techincal assistence, gleaming over the new PC he'd just purchased and hooked up to the internet. Since he's not very "connected", I decided to play around with his head a little, telling him that you could find out anything about a person through this magical search engine called "Google". To prove this to him I ran his name (not a common one) through it, not really expecting anything. Low and behold it came up in the form of a .txt file from a job he hadn't held in about a year. Along with his own name came his father's name and email address (who is a Labor Relations manager, a field that can get heated), his mother's name and where she went to high school, and countless other miscellaneous tidbits of information about him and his family.

    What surprised me most, however, was the information that didn't surface. While all of this trivial information found it's way to my monitor, the information I would have expected to appear didn't. A few years ago, during a low point in his life, he'd manage to amass quite a criminal record: a few semi-violent crimes (bar fights constitute assult) and an attempted felony, he had even been associated with a large hate group. None of that surfaced in my googling.

    I guess the moral of the story is googling your date isn't exactly the most acurate way of checking his or her background if you're into that type of thing. I'm glad this information didn't surface in his case, as he's put his past behind him and started a new life. I don't think "ex-neo nazi skinhead" sends potential dates the right message on a first date. He's told his current girlfriend, but only when the relationship was a point where he felt okay in doing so, and she accepted it.

    Anyway, that's my two cents.

  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:48AM (#4897017) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only person that uses Google and a wireless web device to fake knowledge during conversations? I pick out keywords as people talk and read about it while half listening and then reply as if I actually knew about the subject. Of course I kind of do know about the subject then but it never fails to impress people that you know about everything they are interested in. If you're good they won't even notice you looking stuff up.

    I can only imagine more of this as we get more into wearable computers or even wetware. :)
  • by zephc ( 225327 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:52AM (#4897030)
    "I swear, it was a different Zeph Campbell!"
  • Cheat dating? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by minitrue ( 213792 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:55AM (#4897044)
    Okay, mine's an opposite situation but with the same guilt:

    This summer I went on a blind date with a girl. We had some common interests but we just weren't hitting it off. Later that week I did a google search on her and found out that she was a pretty well respected artist. I read up on the artists she worked with, the school she studied at, the galleries she'd been in, and found that we had some common ground in art and new tech. The next time we went out, we had a fantastic three hour conversation about art and technology. I never told her about my google search.

    Is that cheating?
    • > I never told her about my google search.

      Uh oh, you prolly just did :). just wait till the next date to hear all about her google search results on you.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:54AM (#4897219)
      Google is a mighty tool, capable of being used for great good, or great evil! You must learn to respect that power!


      Well, what if she was into mutilating chickens?

      If you were an ass, you might just walk up to her in public and say "OH MY GOD YOU MUTILATE CHICKENS!"

      If you weren't an ass, you might find some other reason to get the hell away from her.

      And if you never did the search at all, you might end up in a dark forest in the middle of a chicken mutilating ceremony and then everything would be awkward!

      (Sorry, I'm so in the mood for chicken cordon bleu right now.)
  • by anzha ( 138288 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:00AM (#4897056) Homepage Journal

    That what they say online is often archived and then a part of the public record. I've said this many times online that what you will say cana nd will come back to haunt you.

    It doesn't necessarily mean that Big Brother is watching. What it means is that if you develop a reputation online - a flame thrower, lunatic, nutcase, All-Information-Wants-To-Be-Free-Die-Private-Softw are-makers-Die - it might just come out in the least oppurtune times. During a job interview or say if the general public becomes net savvy at last...

    Remember that Usenet convo that you are embarassed to think about? Yeah, we do too. Soon your future SOs and employers will be looking too.

    THINK before you open your mouth. It was good advice before the net came about and its even better now.

    • this is true. however, the net plays a larger part in the social lives of some than of others. and, look, one needs to relax sometimes...

      so now we have this great little problem: say you use the same sn|alias|whatnot to talk on IM|whatnot with people you know in real life as you use, say, for /. - the same alias under which you outputted all of those dumb jokes, etc (/me thinks of itself). now people from RL may *accidentally* search for your alias... see where this is going?

      this makes people that exist more than others on the net valuable to manipulation ... it may screw up some of your interactions, etc...

      so, i guess what i want to say is that if you socialize on the net, and much that happens here is easily searchable, etc, you must be ready to provide quick bridging for some sort of integrity? or something? someone help me find the right words :)

      otherwise people would get stuck with i-dont-want-to-blow-my-cover complexes and then the net as it currently is, with all the BSing, and CAPS LOCKS, and flam3bait1ng and l337 h4Xors would be no more... (the day the h4X0r kiddies fell silent?) which *might* be a good thing.. i dont know. but some certainly like it this way..
  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:01AM (#4897061) Homepage
    I routinely google people. Not just dates or potential dates; but nearly everyone I come across. People (especially in tend to have a variety of interests and expertise, and by googling someone I can find out about those much more quickly than by spending hours talking to them.

    And it goes both ways: If I've met someone new and they want me to briefly describe myself, I'm quite likely to tell them to google me instead. I've done lots of stuff over the years, and I'm likely to forget to mention whatever any particular person is most interested in.

    It has nothing to do with potential amorous interests; googling people just makes sense. (Assuming, of course, that you can identify which person you're looking for out of those sharing the same name; but in my experience that isn't too hard.)
  • Another Option (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ezubaric ( 464724 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:03AM (#4897066) Homepage
    You can use google to improve a relationship you're in. For instance, you can find other people of the same name and say ...

    * This Jane Doe in Athens, GA is a black belt. Maybe you should work out now.
    * This Jane Doe in Palo Alto has a PhD in Chemistry, maybe she doesn't burn all her food.

    But anyway, I'm back to using it to check out hopeful dates.
  • by johnraphone ( 624518 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:10AM (#4897088) Homepage
    I looked at the title "Googling For Dates?" and I thought Google started a dating service ( but after i read the thing, you have to have a date already :(
  • by wattersa ( 629338 ) <> on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:14AM (#4897107) Homepage
    First of all, how many available, attractive women actually go to the trouble of putting up their own sites or publishing their info? Unless they're in the news somehow, there aren't going to be that many references to the really desirable women because they don't need to use the internet to meet people. This is nothing new. Even if there were some questionable info on someone on the net, do you really care? Is it true or is it a satire or hoax like the onion []? It's like reading a person's diary or setting up a surveillance camera inside their house. They present themselves to the world how they want to, and if you try to find out about someone online you're just asking for a skewed perspective. "Uh, honey, I found those hardcore pictures you did online 10 years ago, I wanted to let you know I still love you." Turns out it was her twin sister and she's offended that you actually *looked* for something bad about her. If you do find something online and allow that into your relationship with someone, you may find out how little you really know of yourself and each other. I mean sure, I'm as fond as the next guy of searching for news articles on women I'm interested in to see if they have any hobbies so I can ask them what they do in their spare time, but for example searching the local recorder's office to see if they own property to see if they live in a nice area is just out of line. Why don't you just ask, it will look better if they ever find out. This reminds me of that device [] in Japan that tells people whether there's a "match" in the immediate vicinity, like while walking on the sidewalk. Seriously, people.
  • Warning (Score:5, Funny)

    by vex24 ( 126288 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:22AM (#4897128) Homepage
    He... ...warns against jumping to conclusions based on a quick search or confusing someone for others with the same name.

    So basically do exactly the opposite of what they'd do on Three's Company. Got it.
  • by r0b0t b0y ( 565885 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:23AM (#4897129)
    try googlism [].

    usually more fun (but less accurate/informative).
  • by deego ( 587575 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:25AM (#4897136)
    yeah, i googled for my gf.

    Long story short, it seemed that i spent more time reading about the whole 2 pages that referred to her (and reading any diffs) than she would have ever spend creating them. And that there were more number of pages and websites created by me than the number of letters in the pages that were about her or on her site.

    Sounds to me like one of us needed to get a life.
    yes, she dumped me soon after....

    sound familiar, anyone?
  • by cygnusx ( 193092 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:03AM (#4897244) Homepage
    Doesn't "Google" use as a verb dilute its trademark value? (Something like that happened to Xerox).

  • Google? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:04AM (#4897250) Homepage
    I just refer girls I date to The Labyrinth (my writings) found at my web-site. They either come away thinking I'm one fucked up individual or find me interesting.

    I'm religious but I'm not afraid to poke fun of my religion. Any like minded girl that can read "Justification for It's Existance" and not get offended at the line "Jesus tells the funniest stories when he's drunk" or "Dinner Party" and laugh at "Resurrected Jesus cookies" is a girl I want to get to know.

    Researching someone on Google is lame. These days everyone and their dog and its chew toy has a web-site. If they don't have a personal site then stick to the old fashion "conversation."

    Finding random spats of information someone wrote is an excellent way to get the wrong idea about them. Who knows when it was written, what they've gone through since then, ect. If someone wants others to know about them on-line, they'll put up a homepage and point you to it if you ever meet them.

    I'd rather get to know someone before digging through their history and judging them without giving them a chance to explain. People change. They make mistakes. They move on.

  • by edashofy ( 265252 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:16AM (#4897273)
    True story: I was thinking of asking this one girl out. Honor student, totally anal, the whole works. So I googled her, as any good hacker would. What came up?

    The local police blotter!

    Thank you, Google! I still know where my wallet is because of you!

  • by Splurk ( 576481 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:18AM (#4897279)
    My due diligence before a round of interviews included a Google search on the hiring manager's name. I was looking for conversation ideas, but when I told him how I learned that he played the drums, I think I stepped over a line. Or maybe I didn't get the job for some more substantial reason?
  • Damn it (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:37AM (#4897305)
    Google search: Britney Spears Chance in Hell

    Results: None.


  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:42AM (#4897313) Homepage Journal
    10 points to the first person to find my first usenet post (which I have found and confirmed in the Google Groups cache). I'll even spot you my name; Chris Johnson.

    With such a common name I have no idea how people think they can find out anything about a person on-line unless they've specifically made it available.

  • New Poll? (Score:3, Funny)

    by yuri ( 22724 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:48AM (#4897330)
    Scariest google date search results?
    1. Advertisements for slaughter victims in a german canabilism newsgroup.
    2. The 16 year old horny schoolgirl you met on ICQ, actually is a 16 year old horny schoolgirl.
    3. Her blog has updates on how your date went. And the 'penis size' poll is not going well.
    4. Her last boyfriend was Coyboy Neal, and now nobody else will ever be good enough.
  • by TastySiliconWafers ( 581409 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @05:11AM (#4897386)
    Pick two. This old principle applies to information as well as it applies to other goods and services. Sure Google is fast and it's free, but the quality of the information you get is low. You don't necessarily know if the information you're getting is really about the person or if it's someone else with the same name. The information generally lacks context. Was it posted in jest, but you just don't happen to be in on the joke? Is the language ambiguous such that it could be misinterpreted as something else (an unintended double entendre)? The true authorship of the information is unknown so you don't really know if it comes from someone with an axe to grind.

    Sure, it sounds like it might be a useful technique for someone who is an intelligent, discriminating reader and doesn't take anything at face value, but rather carefully evaluates sources for quality, context, and bias. But, frankly, that sounds like an awful lot of work and, let's face it, most people do have a tendency to take things at face value without scrutinizing the accuracy and bias of the source. Observed behavior is far more valuable information than what Google can offer regarding what a person is really like. What's their body language saying? What are their friends like? How do they treat friends, strangers, and family? What is their family of origin like? If you need help recognizing behavioral cues, pick up a good psychology/sociology/self-help book written by a credible expert.

    As for employers making hiring decisions based on info from a Google search, that sounds like a lawsuit just waiting to happen. I'd want to be certain that Mr. Otherwise-Exceptionally-Qualified-Applicant-But-We -Found-Bad-Things-On-Google-Associated-With-His-Na me really did/said those things before I turned him down for a job because of it.
  • by gnarly ( 133072 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @07:37AM (#4897741) Homepage
    About 30 Minutes after the police issued an arrest warrant for John Allen Williams in connection with the DC area sniper murders, I looked him up on Google. In only a matter of minutes this page [] had already been set up.

  • by Alethes ( 533985 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @09:43AM (#4898191)
    1) Enter preference (e.g. "hair:Blonde sex:Female age:25 breasts:big")

    2) Click "I'm Feeling Lucky"

    Yeah, Randy Cohen is probably right. This is not a good idea.
  • For example, 1453 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoshuaDFranklin ( 147726 ) <> on Monday December 16, 2002 @11:09AM (#4898616) Homepage
    Yeah, I was wondering about some important dates, like the year 1453:
    • The Ottoman Turks, led by Memed II, capture Constantinople: the end of the Byzantine Empire, 29 May
    • Talbot defeated and slain at Castillon, Gascony, in final battle of The Hundred Years War, 17 July
    • King Henry VI suffers mental collapse at royal manor of Clarendon, 1 August
    • Queen Margaret gives birth to Edward, crown prince, 13 October
    • Bordeaux, last English possession in Guyenne, surrenders to the French , 19 October
    • Somerset arrested and confined to The Tower, 23 November
    Without Google, I'd only have known about the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Hundred Years' War! Thanks Google!
  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <`ten.pbp' `ta' `maps'> on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:40PM (#4900623)
    Speaking of things you didn't ever expect to see on Google, I Googled for an ex-girlfriend one time, and I ran across her friggin obituary.

    What a haunting experience that was.
  • Dates? (Score:3, Funny)

    by nightsweat ( 604367 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:25PM (#4900976)
    I understand "to Google", but what is this "date" thing of which you speak?

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel