Face it, you've Googled candidates, or maybe friends before. You are a voyeur.
If you are having trouble seeing in the window, you can put down the binoculars and try a telescope via www.pipl.com. I'm not sure this one is a good thing, but more will follow. That's technology, so you may as well know about the tools...
Hat tip to Marci Alboher from Shifting Careers for the find. Here's how Marci describes it:
"By going into what’s called “the deep Web,” which basically means finding pages on the Web that are not generally picked up by a standard search engine search, you’ll find the kinds of things — white page listings (including prior addresses), birthdays, profiles on social networking sites and certain public records that an employer, potential business partner or any inquiring mind can easily access.
While all this might sound either useful or creepy, the wrinkle is that if the person being searched has a common name, the search will turn up pages and pages of results for people with that name. I spoke to Matthew Hertz, the site’s founder and chief executive, who said that Pipl is working on ways to narrow a search past the current method, which brings up results based on first name, last name and city. Until then, it certainly is amusing to see how much of your personal data the deep Web turns up, and to get a glimpse of what your doppelgangers have been up to."
So I gave pipl.com a try. First up, Marci's point regarding googling candidates or any other individual with a common name is valid. Trying to find relevant info on a "John Smith" is a problem via Google unless you really know how to use the advanced search tools. So, there's a business opportunity there.
Unfortunately, I found the tool really didn't help a lot with this. Once you get past a couple of cool features, the indexed results are driven by Google, and there's still a lot of clutter.
One cool feature is the "quick facts" on the target of your search, displayed towards the top of the page. That's worth using the tool, but don't expect a lot of help with the John Smiths of the world.
Final Note - it's always creepy to see phone numbers and addresses atop a people search. Brave new world...