Google Search Tip – Domain Specific People Searches

Google has numerous specialized search features.  A good one for people searches is a domain specific search.  By adding to your search string, you can narrow your results to a given domain.  You can even widen your search to specific top-level domains like .com, .gov, . edu, .mil etc.

For instance, students, alumni, faculty and staff for major universities will often be mentioned, along with contact information, on  university web sites.  Say you know the name of a student, alumni or staff member at Berkeley, you could do a person search like John Doe or a more specific string search like “John Doe” [ make sure to include a space between your last search term and ].

Say you want to find a current or former member or civilian employee of the US military and you want to see if they are mentioned on any of the military sites – you could do a search like John Doe, if you know the person is affiliated with the US Navy.  You could also do a general top-level domain people search like John Doe site:mil, if you are unsure of the branch the person belongs too and want to search all of the .mil sites.

The same people search techniques work for private business [ .com ] or non profit [ .org ] employees.  Try a Google people search like Bill Gates and you get the idea of how you can use this to find less public figures.  In addition, don’t forget the basics of people searching – there is a difference between a general people search for Bill Gates and a specific, exact string search like “Bill Gates”.