Pipl – A People Search Engine

Pipl is a people search engine that tries to be a little different. Rather than just go off and hunt for email addresses, this tries to search through the deep/invisible/hidden web to return content that other search engines are going to miss. The interface is simple – type in first name, last name, city, state and country, then let it go to see what it’ll find.

It searches across a wide variety of resources, and it does it reasonably quickly – with the searches that I ran I’d get responses in 5 seconds or less. Pipl pulled content from 192 (which is a British site providing access to electoral registers for example), Friendster, and it pulled up what it calls ‘quick facts’ that are snippets from webpages. This was useful, since it provided useful thumbnail sketches of the person/people with the name the searcher is seeking.

So, for example, our own Danny Sullivan is variously:

+ Editor in chief of Search Engine Land, + A brilliant guy who does an amazing podcast + An architect + An idiot + A long time commentator on the search engine industry

Pipl also pulls content from profile and directories such as Amazon, publications, public records, web pages and news items.

It also suggests possible name variants as well, so ‘Danny Sullivan’ may be a nickname for ‘Daniel Sullivan’ or ‘Sheridan Sullivan’. The first I could have guessed, the second took a little more thought to work out.

It was certainly interesting to hunt through the information provided, and Pipl has made a good start, but there were a few gaps that surprised me. No mention of social bookmarking services for example – I would expect to be able to see if people with the name I was looking for had marked things in del.icio.us or Furl for example.

Although Pipl do mention Flickr I didn’t see any references to images that either Danny or I had put up. I would also expect to see material from the BT phone book, or some of the other school reunion websites.

This however maybe a little churlish, given that it’s only recently launched. It’s an engine that’s worth taking a peek at – even if it’s only to see what they have on you and your namesakes. It will probably be more than you expect.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search Engines: People Search


About The Author:

Connect with the author via:


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.luckylester.com Lucky Lester

    Nothing special here, in fact I found better results for the same enquires on the big 3. I will try it again using some actors and musicians to see if is better than using something like the IMDB.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide