Googling Oneself Is Becoming Oddly Popular

Dennis Faas's picture

A report from the Associate Press reveals details of a telephone survey of 1,623 Internet users conducted between Nov. 30, 2006 and Dec. 30, 2006 by Pew Internet and American Life Project showing that more Americans are Googling themselves, their friends, co-workers and romantic interests.

According to the report from Pew, 47 percent of U.S. adult Internet users have searched for information about themselves through Google or another search engine, more than doubling the 22 percent of users from the previous survey conducted in 2002.

About 60 percent of Internet users aren't worried about the extent of information about themselves online, despite increasing concern over how that data could be used.

53 percent of adult Internet users admitted looking up information about someone else, not including celebrities. Several users tried to find information on someone they've lost touch with but searching for information about friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbors was also common.

Men and women searched equally for information online about themselves, but women were a little more prone to see if they could find information about someone they were dating.

On many occasions searches were conducted to find someone's contact information. A third of users who conducted searches on others have searched for public records, such as bankruptcies and divorce proceedings. A third of users surveyed searched online for someone else's photo.

Only a few users surveyed said they Google themselves regularly. About 75 percent surveyed said they've only searched for themselves once or twice. Most users who have found information on themselves consider what they found online accurate while only 4 percent said embarrassing or inaccurate information online has resulted in a bad experience.

Americans under the age of 50 and those surveyed with above-average education and income were more likely to Google themselves -- sometimes because their jobs demanded a certain online persona. Teens were more likely than adults to restrict who viewed their profiles at online social sites like Facebook or MySpace.

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