I have a combination of a fairly unique first name and a strange field of research, as well as a professional website that I maintain for the purpose of my work. I also have other stuff on the web: pictures from college, an advice column I used to write, etc. Plus, there's all the TDL and forum stuff, which until recently shared the same name as my blogs.
Recently, people I've gone on a date or two with people who then inform me that they've Googled my information, to include the pictures from school and my personal info. I find this REALLY weird and very intrusive. I know the net is public, but so are divorce records, tax returns, and all manner of things that it would be uncouth to look up prior to a first date. They think it is fine because they are just curious and if I have nothing to hide, I shouldn't be upset. I gained a lot of weight in college and said some things I shouldn't have that were in a public forum and thus recorded. I don't want those things shown to people I might have wanted to date without my being there to prove I've changed (or not).
As it stands, I asked my old college dorm to remove almost all references to me and I've hidden all my journals, as well as any cross linking to screen names. I hate having to hide these things that were there for my friends to keep them away from sneaky people I may not even know.
So, in your opinion: when is it okay to Google people? First date? Before first date? Never?
It seems like a weird form of voyeurism to me. I wouldn't really do it unless I knew the person very well and they had already included me in their private lives online. Even then I would be hesitant to do so as it seems like an invasion of privacy, like rummaging through one's trash. Yes, it's not your private stuff anymore, but that's really creepy.
I wouldn't "google" after someone's name to find out information about her. But I would definetally follow all profile links and take a good look at all pictures.
Why no google? Simple: you can't trust the results. I tried my own name just name, and only one link (the seventh orso) was a right one (haven't look further), my full name appeared in previous links as well, but that was another guy with an identical name who joins in lots of running contests (this gets even more confusing when you find out that I used to that as well) But this guy is definetally not me, other age, other years of games and other living place.
If she wants to google me, go for it, but I can't be responsible for any weird results she encounters (if you don't want people to come across some dirty secret of you, the last place you should post if is the internet)
A girl I know once trusted me with the fact that she was ***, a few days later my best friend gives me a link and tells me to go and check that website, appears that he came across a website with her *** profile. Naturally he was shocked (*** weren't that common then and there) and soon after that she told everyone, luckily everyone was okay with it.
But the same point remains: if you post ANYTHING on the internet, be prepared that anyone can read it, even if they don't search for it they can still accidentially come across it. (don't ask me how, just keep in mind anything is possible!)