5 Tips for Finding People With Google

Google can be used as a free people search tool

An illustration of someone search for a person using Google.

 Lifewire

Google is one of several ways to find people online. In fact, a regular Google search is just one method for doing a people search on Google.

When you use Google to find people, you can do so with limited information like just their name, phone number, address, email, etc. You can even use Google to find people with just a single photo!

Every resource listed on this page is absolutely free. If you come across something that asks you to pay money for information, you've most likely discovered a resource we don't recommend using. See Should I Pay to Find People Online? for more information.

It's best to complete these people finding search tips without being logged in to your Google account. Staying logged out helps ensure that the results aren't tailored to you specifically, but instead are raw results from the search engine.

Google Person Finder — a way for people to reconnect in the aftermath of natural disasters — is a different topic not covered below.

Use Google Search to Find a Phone Number

Several people holding smartphones

Tim Robberts / Getty Images

You can use Google to find phone numbers, both business and residential numbers. Simply visit Google and type in the name of the person or business, along with any other information that might be helpful, and sift through the results to see if the phone number has been listed anywhere on the web.

reverse phone number lookup is possible, too. Using Google as a reverse number search tool is helpful if you already know the phone number but you're not sure who owns it. You might do a reverse number lookup on Google if you don't recognize a caller.

Put Quotes Around Someone's Name

Woman dressed as Little Bo Peep

 CC BY-SA 2.0 by Gage Skidmore

Quotation marks let you search for a specific phrase on Google, so using them around a first and last name can help narrow down your person search.

For example, looking up the name John Smith reveals over 2 billion results, but surrounding the name in quotes like "John Smith", shows a mere 32 million. Obviously, several million results isn't ideal, but it's definitely better than billions of results.

The reason this works is because when looking for John Smith without quotes, Google finds all results that include both names. Using quotes make the search a single item, meaning that Google will only show results that have the name John next to Smith.

In addition, if you know where the person lives or works, or what clubs/organizations, etc., that they're associated with, you can try a variety of different combinations:

"little bo peep" montana
jingleheimer "idaho gardeners club"
"john jackson" "california builders association"

Track Someone With Google Alerts

Woman using a smartphone

 Óscar López Rogado / Getty Images

If you want to stay informed of someone's doings via the web, Google Alerts is a great place to start. All you have to do is enter the search term you want alerted about, describe how often you want the emails, and then wait for a message.

For example, maybe you want to monitor the entire web for any new instances of someone's email address, address, or a combination of multiple search terms, like this:

"john smith" jsmith@gmail.com

This "people finder" method is super helpful but, unfortunately, only works if the person or business has a presence online. In other words, you can't use Google Alerts to know when your daughter posts something on her Twitter of Facebook page.

Search for People With Google Images

Man holding tablet with a city's reflection overlayed on top of him

 Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Another way to find people with a Google search is to use Google Images. Many people upload photos and other images to the web, most of which is indexed by Google and viewable via a Google Images search.

To find someone on Google Images, just type their name as a jumping-off point. The Tools option lets you filter the results by size, color, type, and time uploaded, so if you know any of those details, you'll have better luck finding the person.

Another way to use Google Images to do a free people search is to start with an image you already have of the person. Maybe it's their social media profile image or something they texted you.

Visit Google Images and select the camera icon to get started with a reverse image search. A reverse image search on Google works from mobile devices, too.

Pinpoint a Location Using Google Maps

Google Maps on a smartphone
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Maybe it's someone's physical address you're interested in. Google Maps is the easiest way to use Google for finding where someone lives.

When you search for someone by their address, you can find lots of useful information:

  • Use Street View to see someone's house
  • View an entire neighborhood
  • Check out business listings
  • Find names, addresses, and phone numbers tied to a business
  • Get directions to any location
  • View satellite, aerial, or hybrid views of a location

Once you find information here, you can print it, email it, or share a link to the map itself. You can also see reviews of businesses within Google Maps simply by clicking on their map listing, as well as any websites, addresses, or associated phone numbers.