When Is it Okay to Google a Person? Here's Your Answer

Life's most important struggles deserve a good flow chart

Raise your hand if you’ve ever Googled someone. Of course you have. Everyone has, right?

After a conversation with a friend about to go on a first date, Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton at Tech Page One wondered about the ethics of Googling someone, asking “Wasn’t a search on the computer the modern equivalent of passing notes in sixth grade, asking your best friend to ask his best friend if he liked you and was neat-o?”

In the end, they concluded that Google’s public information is more complicated than that. It’s fine to do a quick search to confirm that your potential new babysitter is not, in fact, an international spy. But really getting to know someone takes time, and the authors caution, “it ruins the inherent magic.”

So, before you put on your super-sleuth hat, walk through their handy and funny flow chart. There are some good reasons not to Google a person, like if they’re standing right next to you. (Creepy!) However, there are equally legit reasons to Google—if you both love cats, or if you hope to land a hot date.

Have fun, and Google wisely!

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