So it’s no big surprise that the planet’s largest search engine is also the world’s most powerful free resource for locating people, addresses, phone numbers, and many other kinds of public and private data. So if you need to find people without paying a fee, then a google free people search should be the first place you try.
If you would like to skip the tedious labor, there are plenty of premium people search options to try, but here is my recommended google people search checklist:
1. Take the person’s full name, enter into a google search box – i.e “Missing L. Persons” – (don’t forget to use quotation marks around the person’s name, otherwise non-relevant results may be generated)
If the search results don’t yield any promising hits, re-run the search without using the middle initial. This works well for relatively uncommon last names. For finding people with very common names, using a middle initial is rather essential and will give best results.
2. Use the google phone number search option – This powerful feature has three main components:
Residential Phone Listings – example: rphonebook:2125551212 (residential listings only)
Business Phone Listings – example: bphonebook:2125551212 (business listings only)
All Listings Combined – example: rphonebook:2125551212 (returns combined business and residential)
You can also search using the person or business name in place of the number: “rphonebook:johnson alex”. Location and/or occupation delimiters can also be used like this: “phonebook:johnson alex miami esq.”
Roughly 65% of the time, you can expect that the correct current name and address will be found using this technique. A very cool feature of this search is that a link to Google Maps will be displayed alongside the number! For a different view, also try Google Earth (requires software install).
3. To confirm that an address is deliverable, head over to USPS and verify it.
It is free to search this way because the data that is returned when you google people has actually been compiled, stored, and assembled for retrieval by the Google web server and related search systems, so the results are considered public records and no fee is necessary. If you look closely though, there are strong indications that Google has partnered with a select few leaders in the people search market to provide the very best search results for their users.
Using Google to find people has become rather generic amongst hard core people finders and amateur genealogists. Combining the outstanding data-mining features available on Google with cutting edge personal identifier data like someone’s social security number or last known address can yield very effective search results for almost anyone in the U.S.
One interesting observation I came across claimed that when people use an online search engine like google, internet web traffic stats for 2008 state that over 80% are looking for phone information in addition to people finder data. (A reverse person lookup service alternate to Google that is pretty neat is Spock). Hotmail people search, MSN people search, and cell number searches comprised the next largest category, followed by business, background, and address searches using white or pages. UK news services also report that criminal records inquiries top people locator searches by a slim margin.
The newest social search engines are worth a look to for sure:
These guys provide probably the most comprehensive search of any of the new wave people search engines. They mine snippets of data from from every corner of the web and other search engines too like Zabasearch, Intelius, Facebook and Zoominfo to present a wide variety of search options like email lookup, phone search, address lookup, etc.
Zabasearch has been around long enough to build up a very loyal base of people lookup for a real free people finder option. They give up the basic street address on a free people search and phone number lookup if available. Other services like background check are optional and additional. A very nice and clean interface overall.
LinkedIn.com is pretty interesting. They began as a basic directory for business professionals wishing to network and have expanded into a service that offers much, much more. They claim that over 40 million people are currently on the LinkedIn.com people search directory.