The practice of using the Internet to track down old friends or get background information about a new acquaintance or business contact is popular among Internet users. Often called “Googling”, named after the search engine, about one-third of Internet users have turned to the Internet to find out something about other people. Vanity is a driver for personal searching, as well; one in four Internet users have entered their own name into a search engine to see what turns up.
With the popularity of such personal online detective work, 35% of Internet users have come to expect the Net to have reliable information about people. Moreover, Internet users expect to be able to contact other people using the Internet. Fully 58% of Internet users say they expect to be able to contact someone using email. For those Internet users who see the Internet as a source of reliable information about other people, 72% say they expect to be able to contact other people using email. A sizable chunk non-Internet users see the Internet as a place for reliable information about others; 25% of non-users expect that the Net will have reliable information about individuals.