May 24, 2008

Are you a Google Master?

Apparently, I am. The last few weeks I have astounded a few people with my Google Skills. I thought everyone could Google well. But, I must be mistaken.

One person said I was "too resourceful for my own good" when I discovered a cool talk he had given at a university a few years ago.

Another one suggested I go into private investigation when I was able to find out information about a website and who ran it despite not having an "About Us" page with any substance on it. You can always dig up clues and Google those.

Here are my top Google tips - use them for good, not for smack:
  • Google any phone numbers - you might discover that phrases like "we're so busy with all our business that it might take us 24 hours to get back to you" really means, "this is the cell phone for my day job and I can't answer the call but will call you at lunch hour tomorrow".
  • Google Map addresses - if you use the "satellite" view (or the street view if it's offered - look for the yellow man icon), you might discover that someone's business address is really their house, a post office box or a copy shop. If you google mine, you'll see that I work out of my house. Of course working out of your house is perfectly NORMAL, but sometimes a website makes it sound like they are working out of 50,000 square foot location.
  • Google names - many people have histories on the internet.
  • Use the IMAGES pages at Google - very helpful in finding specific product photos or even photos of people.
  • Go to the "whois" information for domains - sometimes you'll be surprised who a domain name is registered to.
I don't use my Google Powers to dig up dirt on anyone - just find out information I need to make informed decisions. I have found that many times, people "embellish" a little on who they really are and sometimes I need to know the real story before I can make a decision about a business relationship.

Okay, I DO Google high school friends from time to time. I found out through Google that my Senior Prom Date got married in Canada to his boyfriend of 14 years in 2005. Sometimes you just don't want to know... :-)

1 comment:

angiepedersen said...

Yes, I frequently use Whois lookup to find a physical mailing address. It's not always the best address for mailing, but sometimes it's the only one I can find. It always drives me nuts when one isn't provided on an "Contact Us" page - I mean, if you don't want people to be able to find you and contact you, why have a website?