Find lost friends using the Internet
Start by searching Google. Enter your friend's name surrounded by quotes. Try nicknames and variations on the name, also. Example type in the search column "name"
For common names, narrow the search by adding a location, profession or interests.
Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) may also help. You'll be automatically notified via e-mail when new pages meeting your search terms are found. Enter your friend's name, along with variations, and how often you'd like updates.
Your friend may also be looking for you. So search Google for your name.
Start a blog
People often search for themselves on the Internet. Take advantage of this by starting a blog. Blogger.com, LiveJournal.com and WordPress.com are free blogging services. You'll be up and going in minutes.
Use your friend's full name and any nicknames in postings. You might also list the last-known location and interests. Include a way to contact you. Just be careful not to give out too much contact information Your e-mail address is enough. Online hustlers use detailed contact information to lure the unsuspecting into various scams.
Search social-networking sites
Social-networking sites are incredibly popular. Maybe your friend uses one. But searching Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn individually is time consuming.
Wink.com searches popular social-networking sites, along with blogs and other sites. Simply enter your friend's name. Narrow search results by adding a location and interests.
You can click through to profile pages on the networking sites. You'll get a better idea if a listing is your friend.
Consider registering for a free profile on Wink. People can use it to locate you. Enter your name and information about yourself. If you wish, link to your profiles on other sites.
PeekYou.com is another site similar to Wink.
Search the deep Web
Pipl.com claims to search the deep Web. These are pages omitted from most search results. You can search Pipl by name and location only.
Pipl searches public records, publications, store profiles and more. The results could point you in the right direction. You may find a store profile that lists a city. Use this information to narrow your search.
As with many people search sites, some results link to paid sites.
Try school sites
Your school's alumni site may help you find college friends. Many have directories. Some even have networking sites.
These sites will be limited to school alumni. You must verify that you're an alumnus of the school. Additionally, you may need to join the alumni association. Make sure the association has your current information.
People search sites
There are plenty of other people search services. At Zabasearch.com, you can search by name and location. You'll get a list of matching addresses and phone numbers. There may also be a birth year.
Clicking a name leads you to Intelius.com, a paid background check site.
Zabasearch also lets you leave messages readable by the public. Your friend may find your message on the site. You should watch for replies.
You also can sign up for Zaba Alerts. You'll be notified if someone searches for your name. You'll also learn when new information is posted. Enter your name and the name of the person you're trying to find.
InfoSpace.com is similar to Zabasearch.
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim's free e-mail newsletters, sign up at: www.komando.com/newsletters. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Courtesy: USA today