November 28, 2014

Elyria
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Americans ga-ga over Googling themselves

NEW YORK — More Americans are Googling themselves — and many are checking out their friends, co-workers and romantic interests, too.

In a report Sunday, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said 47 percent of U.S. adult Internet users have looked for information about themselves through Google or another search engine.

That is more than twice the 22 percent of users who did in 2002, but Pew senior research specialist Mary Madden was surprised the growth wasn’t higher.

“Yes it’s doubled, but it’s still the case that there’s a big chunk of Internet users who have never done this simple act of plugging their name with search engines,” she said. “Certainly awareness has increased, but I don’t know it’s necessarily kept pace with the amount of content we post about ourselves or what others post about us.”

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

Americans younger than 50 and those with more education and income were more likely to self-Google — in some cases because their jobs demand a certain online persona.

Meanwhile, Pew found that 53 percent of adult Internet users admit to looking up information about someone else, celebrities excluded.

Often, it’s to find someone they’ve lost touch with. But looking up information about friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbors also was common.

Although men and women equally searched for online information about themselves, women were slightly more likely to look up information about someone they are dating.