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Beyond the Basics: Five Search Tools You Need to Know

One big flex in this new age of technology is that you’ve never had a better chance of finding a person or business than now. The Internet of Things (IoT) has further contributed to connecting almost everyone to the digital ecosystem, which brings about a ton of data. Thanks to the many search tools at your disposal, you can initiate a search on a person or an entity of interest with just a name, phone number, email address, or other specific relevant keywords and get instant results online.

However, there’s no guarantee that all search tools possess the effective functionalities they’re touted to have by their providers. Some of these tools are too generic, returning minimal useful results, while others lack the necessary security measures to safeguard your search and personal details. Given such, your hunt for the ideal search tool will require prioritizing features that align more with your preferences (from privacy to cost-friendliness), while providing you with accurate and up-to-date information.

If you’re all for that, then you are in for a treat as this guide explores the top five search tools that tick all the right boxes. Keep in mind that some of these tools are free and others are available for less than a cup of coffee.

Search Engines

Search engines are basically everyone’s first point of call in the search process. Are you looking for directions to a newly launched five-star restaurant in your city? Simply enter its name in the Google Maps search box. Heard about a property on sale downtown and are curious about its listing price? Go ahead to look it up on, craigslist, or Zillow. Is your dog showing strange symptoms that you’d like to know more about? Head to WebMD. It doesn’t get simpler than that.

There’s no limit to the information you find from searches conducted via various search engines on the web. Think Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and the like. These tools are among the most powerful and popular in the world, with Google clinching over 80% of the total market share since the emergence of data collection in January 2019 and also recording more than 100 billion visits. And this doesn’t come as a surprise considering there is a staggering 175 zettabytes of data stored on the Internet.

Despite this mind-boggling volume, search engines do a great job at indexing, organizing, ranking, and retrieving the most accurate results to your query. On closer look, their power lies in proprietary algorithmic software called crawlers that sift through pages and databases to collate relevant information in a matter of seconds. But then, it’s not all hunky-dory with these powerhouses, as incomplete indexing, spam, algorithmic limitations, and personalization, among others, may undermine the quality of results they provide, which is why you may need to pair them with other search tools.


Whitepages is another online directory service that offers detailed contact and background information about people and businesses. You look up their names, phone numbers, addresses, and even property records. The search tool’s standout feature is its up-to-date address database, which is a repository of more than 210 million addresses linked to residents and property owners across the states. This implies you can access details on existing mortgages, property history, and value.

The address feature is available to all users for free; however, you’ll have to subscribe if you wish to access additional search functionalities covering email addresses, cell phone numbers, and background reports. Overall, it’s not too much to say that this search tool passes our reliability test, being one of the most visited websites in the U.S. with approximately 30 million visits every month.

Reverse Lookup Tools

Most search tools provide forward search, which is effective when you have the full name of the person you’re looking for. But what if all you have is an unknown phone number? This is where reverse lookup services come in clutch. These tools operate using search queries based on phone numbers but can work as well with email and home addresses.

Whitepages partly falls within this category, but then its services extend beyond reverse lookup. On the other hand, Nuwber—an online search tool—perfectly fits into the picture, as it provides information lookup for over 300 million people, 325 million phone numbers, 118 million home addresses, and 285 million email addresses. It additionally indexes the presence of 27 million businesses and 440 million social accounts.

So, even if you don’t have a name with which to commence your search, Nuwber’s robust database provides a workaround with other available data to pull up the right results. What’s more, it is user-friendly and highly secure.

Social Media

Today, it’s almost impossible to find a person without a social media account, as everyone who counts is almost certainly hooked onto one or more platforms to keep in touch with their friends, family, or associates, share their ideas and interests with the public, and keep abreast with the latest trends. Given the sheer ton of information that is being shared, it’s easy to get detailed information about anyone—names, current locations, employment details, events, and even hobbies.

Simply run a search for the individual using the search bar. Depending on their privacy settings and activities, you can learn more about their personal and professional life. Keep in mind that even though you’re more likely to get relevant information, not all of it is accurate and up-to-date in some cases. For instance, a person may change their job, home, or business details and forget to update such on their accounts, making it difficult for your search to reflect the most current version of these details.

Public Records

As the name implies, public records are important official documents held by government agencies across all levels, from your local city hall to state offices and even federal departments, and are made publicly available. They cover a wide range of information about individuals and businesses. Picture documents like birth and death certificates, property deeds, business registrations and licenses, filings, and arrest records.

Getting such data would require you to send a request to the appropriate agency either in person, by mail, or online. Some third-party services also do a better job of curating public records by indexing millions of documents from hundreds of sources and making them accessible for a fee. These search tools save you the stress of digging through public records yourself.

A Bottom Line

If you have been looking for a reliable way to search for someone or their contact information, you’re now in a better position to get started. Just choose any of the search tools discussed in this guide. Remember to do your own research before making any choice.

Jason Davies

I am one of the editors here at I am a UK based technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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