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Googling For Dates?

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the look-into-the-past dept.

The Internet 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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447 comments

post... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896854)

ze first!

I = ruel!

Oh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896860)

Yeah I googled long and hard last night, it was my first time.

Re:Oh yeah (1)

tq_at_sju (218880) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897012)

oh yeah baby google my old body....oh yeah google it google it....argggggh thats the stuff that search engines are made of oh yeah....

Grr (5, Funny)

helix400 (558178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896861)

You mean the web may have factual mistakes?

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

Thanks, Mr Hemos (-1, Offtopic)

LumpishGenius (621219) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896913)

"... He also writes that the verb ''to Google'' is now a familiar neologism" (neologism: a new word, usage, or expression, I looked it up).

Thanks for the tip, brainiac.

NB: Most of your readers have twice the vocabulary of any two members of the Slashdot team.

Re:Thanks, Mr Hemos (1, Offtopic)

greenrd (47933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896965)

You're obviously new here - you made two mistakes. You replied to a comment instead of the article itself. And the text in italics is not written by "Mr. Hemos", it's written by the article submitter.

Re:Thanks, Mr Hemos (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896978)

Way to grab those extra karms points, bitch.
What a useless comment. Btw. You truly are a tool.

Re:Thanks, Mr Hemos (5, Funny)

Hubert_Shrump (256081) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896971)

I wouldn't be so sure. So far, no one, and I mean NO ONE can seem to spell "goat sex" right. What is that, like 7 letters?

Re:Grr (3, Interesting)

xmedar (55856) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896936)

Caveat Lector! Oh and I've done it before, one was an actress and I found a really good review of some of her work in the LA Weekly online, so yes Googling potential dates can be a very good idea

googling (5, Funny)

xavii (92017) | more than 11 years ago | (#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 (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896884)

smurfy!

Re:smurfy! (0, Redundant)

gabec (538140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896975)

lol

yeah right... (1)

_anomaly_ (127254) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896867)

like he's going to condemn it if he's admitting to doing it himself.

anyway, i would consider this along the same lines as asking around about a person's past and whatnot... it's not necessarily considered bad ethics, but it can get yourself into trouble if you don't take it for what it's worth.

Everyone does this. (4, Funny)

Faggot (614416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896898)

If you haven't read every single google link about your Significant Other, you're just not in love.

Not only useful for dating... (5, Insightful)

afra242 (465406) | more than 11 years ago | (#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 [slashdot.org] 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.

Re:Not only useful for dating... (5, Funny)

Burnon (19653) | more than 11 years ago | (#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!

Re:Not only useful for dating... (0)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896945)

No, If she was smart she'd know better than to assume anonymous content is posted by you. Nice try, But no +1, Funny for you.

Re:Not only useful for dating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897025)

Hi! My name is Burnon and I suck cocks for a living. What the heck it pays the rent. If you are the nice lady I dated last night, I should let you know that I have herpes. Call me!

Re:Not only useful for dating... (5, Interesting)

Jordy (440) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896950)

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.

Re:Not only useful for dating... (1)

RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896982)

I am sure everytime I apply for a job, employers scan through Google searching for my name. After all, it was what this article [slashdot.org] was about. Damn, I hope no employer does this for me. The current top Google page for my name points to a guy (not me!) with a MCSE!

This could be big... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896869)

*can see it now*

new slogan for google search engine: learn all about your hoe with google at home!

Google -- NYTimes -- Google (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896870)

Google News provides a reg-free link to the NYTimes article on Google:

Is Googling OK? [nytimes.com]

In SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896872)

In SOVIET RUSSIA
date googles you

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA... (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896919)

In SOVIET RUSSIA date googles you

Maybe so, but in P.R. China you probably can't google any one you know who is Taiwanese.

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896923)

We have no life, existing in a former empire and making lame In SOVIET RUSSIA commnets. We suck so hard that people hate us and it inspirers mass trolling. Go shove your lame stupid feeble attempts at humor and go fuck yourself.
--The campain against lame /. commnets continues

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896949)

You must be a slashdot editor, going by your spelling.

Re:In SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897007)

In Soviet Russia, lame slashdot comments YOU.

Dates? (0)

CowboyTodd (611194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896873)

So doing this.... in theory.... a girl I'm dating now, could find out about a hooker I killed.. say last week?....

Re:Dates? (-1, Offtopic)

krisguy (120047) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896953)

Code 1007 - Disappearing a dead hooker from CowboyNeal's shack

Re:Dates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897019)

Mod this the hell UP!

Sometimes it's a good idea. (4, Insightful)

brad-x (566807) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896874)

You never know when something as innocuous as a screen name [google.com] 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.

Re:Sometimes it's a good idea. (2)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896940)

Blah, tell me about it. I wish my name was Mike Smith.

I need to start strategically placing impressive lies about myself throughout the net.

A specific example.. (2, Insightful)

doubleyewdee (633486) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896875)

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.

This is why I look at lots of porn (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896876)

In case I ever date a women who has done porn, I'll probably know.

Re:This is why I look at lots of porn (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897023)

"In case I ever date a women"

Pretty big first step there, if they ever google for this page...

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896878)

A date? what is this thing of which you speak?

One time a tracked a girl down... (2, Funny)

zombiepopper (548605) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896879)

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.

Limiting to only Google!? (5, Funny)

Nefrayu (601593) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896881)

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!

Re:Limiting to only Google!? (5, Funny)

qqtortqq (521284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896909)

Why bother with dinner if you have naked pics of her? Google the name of her parents, and blackmail her into having sex with you, sending the pics to her parents if she doesnt want to.

Re:Limiting to only Google!? (3, Funny)

Nefrayu (601593) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896932)

Ha! Wish I had though of that before I paid for the dinner!

Re:Limiting to only Google!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896980)

So, can we see these pictures?

Re:Limiting to only Google!? (5, Funny)

Phroggy (441) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897034)

Why bother with dinner if you have naked pics of her? Google the name of her parents, and blackmail her into having sex with you, sending the pics to her parents if she doesnt want to.

So um, you couldn't get a girl who's obviously looking for sex (why else would she post naked pics on online dating sites?) to sleep with you, unless you blackmailed her? That's pretty sad, dude.

Re:Limiting to only Google!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897018)

Man, your sig, on this article depresses me. I got bored once and google'd my girlfriend's name, nothing interesting. But we used to wake up to that "Only the good die young" song everyday.

We're not together anymore and my that sig got me right there ya know?

I sincerely hope (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896886)

I sincerely hope it will never become possible to Google on surf behaviours in the early/mid-nienties... Those dates... Those days... [blushing]

Re:I sincerely hope (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896931)

I sincerely hope it will never become possible to Google on surf behaviours in the early/mid-nienties... Those dates... Those days... [blushing]

Yeah, just make sure you have your firewall configured correctly, you always want to make sure you have protection when googling or you never know what you'll catch.

Check me out (1)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896888)

You can find out all about me here [google.com]

I guess I'm not getting laid tonight.

Buffy earlier this season... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896889)

Willow: "Have you tried Googling her?"

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

And here's a Google cartoon [cartoonbank.com] from the New Yorker.

neologism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896893)

neologism: a new word, usage, or expression, I looked it up

But did you Google it?

Google-ing for dates is like........ (2, Offtopic)

krisguy (120047) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896899)

  • 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!

Re:Google-ing for dates is like........ (1)

Slurpee (4012) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896956)

For crying out loud...read more than the freaking heading.

Googlewhacking? (5, Funny)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 11 years ago | (#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...

Re:Googlewhacking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896943)

Wow... so you couldn't even read the summary?

Good one, Bojangles!

Re:Googlewhacking? (0, Redundant)

Slurpee (4012) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896944)

yes, your comment is funny, but the article is actually about checking out your dates on google, not *finding* dates.

Do ./ers only read the heading now? Whats the world coming to!

Re:Googlewhacking? (2)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896990)

Yes, I did scan/read the article; and, yes, I did try to post a funny comment. Point taken. I know that I was slightly off topic, although I hope that my comment was not completely off topic.

Frankly, I'm typically considered a boring and dull person. I'm kind of happy that somebody thought that my comment was funny. I don't think I've ever been moded as 'funny' before.

Anyhow, what's wrong with a little laughter and levity in the world?

Re:Googlewhacking? (0, Redundant)

Slurpee (4012) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897048)

Love a little laughter...and there are some very funny comments out there for this topic.

But reading your comment suggests you didn't even bother reading past the subject before running to post.

Glad to hear you actually read the article, and deliberately skewed the article to fit your comment.

I'm all for googling... (1)

Toasty16 (586358) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896905)

...especially if it helps you to find out that your blind date is a whalerider [aol.com] (NSFW!)

Hmmm... (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896906)

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... (3, Funny)

becktabs (628093) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896937)

i know...at the point where you break into their wireless lan to google about them from there.

Re:Hmmm... (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 11 years ago | (#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.

Good for bad. (4, Insightful)

Martigan80 (305400) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896907)

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!

Free Reg blah blah (0)

gera0ul (599088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896908)

Its supposed to be yadda yadda you insensitive clod!

spying (1)

aggieben (620937) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896914)

I always wondered about the utility of the internet in doing survaillance (sp?). The possibilities are endless. You can find stuff from googling or from reading bios or whatever. Howe cool would it be if you could crack a web-cam?

or no-reg article at SaltLake Tribune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896921)

salt lake tribune's [sltrib.com] copy of the article.

Why not? Lots of people google for employees (3, Interesting)

edhall (10025) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896924)

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...

-Ed

Re:Why not? Lots of people google for employees (2)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896991)

I help employers out by using an imaginary word (I made it up) to post my projects under. That way if an employer wants to know what I've done I can just tell them to go to Google and type in my magic word and see the 915 results that pop up. Of course there is good and bad mixed together in such search results (possibly embarassing things I've posted in mailing lists) but I've found that mixed results is better than no results.

I think everybody does this (2)

btempleton (149110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896929)

But there's already too much about me on my own web site to keep them busy. This goes way back before google. And there are other nastier tools. For example, I once dated a woman and used alta vista to find links to her page. It uncovered a page inside he own site, now disconnected from it, but still on the server, about her past boyfriend.

You can find similar things in the wayback machine at archive.org about people, things they may have thought erased. Takes the mystery out of it. Good thing I haven't dated for 5 years.

Re:I think everybody does this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897045)

Oh yeah. Myself, I never settled for anything less than an FBI background check and polygraph examination.

What an unfortunate way to start off a relationship, with subterfuge.

Good thing I haven't dated for 5 years.

Hmm. Could they be Google'ing you?

I did this... (2)

A non moose cow (610391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896930)

...just last week. It probably saved my life. I mean, Liz was really pretty and seemed to be very sincere, but typing "Liz Borden" into Google really gave me a shock. You just never know some poeple.

Does this seem bass-ackward to anyone else? (4, Insightful)

Tsar (536185) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896933)

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...

Not just dates??? (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896934)

What about when you apply for an apartment? When you apply for a job?

This may become a standard practice for any type of quick and cheap backround check.

Will employers, credit grantors, unit renters be required to keep copy of webpages that they viewed in their investigations?

Not a good idea (5, Insightful)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896938)

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.

Re:Not a good idea (4, Funny)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897026)

The other Too Much Coffee Man [tmcm.com] is a CHILD MOLESTER??!?

Say it aint so!

How about a relationship built on trust? (5, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896939)

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 (4, Insightful)

Banjonardo (98327) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896951)

I ask, once again, for a google icon. fourth story in less than a week.

You're asking for too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896960)

Do you realize how much work it would be to add a new icon!? I mean, jeez, that's almost as hard as removing the radio section which hasn't had an update since June 29th... 2001!

WHAT IS A DATE? (-1)

Sex_On_The_Beach (621587) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896957)

I don't think half the people on slashdot have been on a date.

The Beginning Of The End (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896959)

Sign of the impending apocalypse:

Slashdot editor looks up word in dictionary.

Film at 11.

Ok? (4, Insightful)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896962)

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.

Another way to look at it (1)

dapunk (634576) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896964)

What would you think if you're date went on Google and started looking for information on you?

AltaVista almost freaked my wife out when we met (5, Interesting)

eggboard (315140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896966)

In the dim recesses of Internet memory, AltaVista was king. I was working for Amazon.com, 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, www.i-m.com, 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.

Weighting the odds... (5, Funny)

Nathdot (465087) | more than 11 years ago | (#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:
BENEVOLENT, NATHDOT, KIND, LIKES LONG WALKS ALONG BEACHES, NATHDOT, NATHDOT, NEVER KICKS CATS, NATHDOT, NATHDOT, NATHDOT, CHARITABLE TOWARD ALL MANKIND, NATHDOT, 9 1/2" PENIS, NATHDOT, GREAT COOK, etc. etc.

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.

Slashdot... dates.... ? (1)

ath0mic (519762) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896974)


Sorry, you must be new here.

Yah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896976)

and I Googled you mom last night

I don't understand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4896981)

What's a date?

I find it strange (5, Interesting)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896987)

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.

How about doing a little more living...... (1)

krisguy (120047) | more than 11 years ago | (#4896988)

and a little less nitpicking.

I don't think that dating someone really needs to become an exercise in investigation unless there are signs that there is a MAJOR problem.

I was always told the point of dating was to get to know how someone would react with you. Using Google to start a romance is about as fun as reading how food tastes.

People need to get hurt emotionally (not destroyed) once in a while, how else do you know when the really good times are and who is a really good person to YOU without expirence?

Something similar... (2)

singularity (2031) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897005)

I was in class during college with a girl and we hit it off really well. All semester I thought about asking her out. Other people in the class (the class included a lab portion, so there was a lot of group work and discussion) commented to the both of us that we should try going out.

The last night of class came, and I finally decided to do something about it. We walked out of class together, and... I lost my nerve. We both wished each other a happy summer and went our own ways. I knew she was transferring over the summer, so I would never see her again.

Enter Google. Her phone number was unlisted, so I did some searching and came up with several pages and information about her. I finally found her phone number.

I then had to consult with several of my female friends. I could call her up (requiring perhaps more nerve than I had demonstrated previously, but we were working under the hypothesis that I could do that, at least).

How do I explain to her how I got her phone number? "Oh, I was searching online for you and found it after about an hour of looking."

Of course, I did not have much to lose since I would not see her again anyway, but it was still rough.

In the end she asked about 45 minutes into our phone conversation. I passed it off as "Oh, I asked the university registrar."

We enver ended up going out, but still speak on the phone several years later.

I have used Google to locate information on potential dates, as well. I have never turned up anything that would cause me to think differently of the person (most of the time it is difficult to get anything that is definitely the person in question). I always wonder, though, while searching, what I would do if I did uncover something like that. On average, i would say I spend about 30-60 minutes searching.

Big Brother? No, not really. (2, Insightful)

zabieru (622547) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897008)

As far as I'm concerned, assuming you are reasonably suspicious of the information, this is no different than asking around, as Mr. Cohen says. If all the government does is google for me, well, I still don't think the whole statism deal is a good idea, in a perfect world, but in this one I'm willing to live with that. On the other hand, intercepting my email is inappropriate for a government, and intercepting your date's email... Well, do I need to say it?

famous quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897013)

"It's not stalking; it's web browsing!"

-- an esteemed member of the .test community

its not what google finds but more what it doesn't (5, Insightful)

deus_X_machina (413485) | more than 11 years ago | (#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.

Forget Google...there are better sources... (1, Offtopic)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897016)

Google won't find anything beyond the charade an individual has created on a home page...or makes up in a blog, for that matter.

...$17.95 per month (and up) will get you a lot more information than some skim-the-surface search engine. If you're really into finding out about someone, subscribe to one of several online investigation services [yourownprivateeye.com] ...that's where the real dirt is.

Mr. Cohen's [68.7.130.226] article sounds more like an advertisement for google, than a holiday tip for the lovelorn.

Google and wireless web. (5, Funny)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897017)

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. :)

What happens when he/she finds out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897021)



This issue has been visited before. Checking out a potential partner via dna tests (movie and real life occurances), checking out a potential partner via private investigators, etc.

Since every search you ever perform on google can be revealed at a later date, what happens when your partner finds out you investigated them prior to making any kind of commitment? Not a problem? What about the cases that made news previously about private investigations of partners? There were even shows based on this.

Re:What happens when he/she finds out? (3, Insightful)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897042)

A search on what a particular person had searched for could be far more incriminating than most things you can find in a regular Google search.

1,000,000 other Greg Smiths... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4897029)

And how do you expect to find me?

C'mon, baby, (5, Funny)

zephc (225327) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897030)

"I swear, it was a different Zeph Campbell!"

that's not me! (2)

Ken Williams (28157) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897037)

googling for "ken williams" produced the following:

Ken Williams the major league baseball player
http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/willik e01.shtm l
only problem is i never played baseball

Ken Williams the game developer (Sierra Online)
http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/ view/deve loperId,59/
thats not me either

Ken Williams the perl consultant
http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/o s2002/view/e _spkr/773
not me either

there are also judges, mayors, police chiefs, government officials from US and England, an FBI agent, and numerous criminals convicted of everything from drug trafficking to armed robbery and even murder.

hubba hubba (2, Funny)

houseofmore (313324) | more than 11 years ago | (#4897043)

"but warns against jumping to conclusions based on a quick search or confusing someone for others with the same name"

Even more specific to imagies.google.com if your dates name end in 'ie'. =)

Cheat dating? (5, Interesting)

minitrue (213792) | more than 11 years ago | (#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?
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