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Whatever happened to that guy in French class?

Check the Internet and find out

July 17, 1997
Web posted at: 9:40 p.m. EDT (0140 GMT)

Do you remember that kid you roomed with in college during your freshman year? You know, blonde, glasses, goofy but likeable. Despite all the promises to keep in touch, you haven't contacted the person in three years. You say you don't know where your former roomie lives these days? Fear not, the Internet can lead the way.

From long-lost cousins to forgotten phone numbers, Internet people finders can put you back in contact in a jiffy. Sites dedicated to helping you find people, places, addresses and phone numbers are a click away.


Take a look at WhoWhere? for a prime example. This site uses the same search engine interface you are used to from the big search sites. But instead of information sites, it returns e-mail addresses. You can search based on last name plus any combination of first name, state and city. You can also look up telephone numbers, Internet video phone numbers and street addresses. This breaks down a bit if you're looking for someone who uses a post office box or doesn't have a phone listing, but you can still find most folks.

Looking for someone who shares your interests, but not a person in particular? WhoWhere? can help you there, too. The site features virtual "communities" of people who share common interests, jobs and group affiliations. Just register and then find an Internet pen pal.

WhoWhere? offers more business-oriented information as well. The site maintains a searchable directory of online companies and the yellow pages listings from four major phone companies, covering all 50 U.S. states. In the same vein, you can also do EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering Analysis And Retrieval) searches and check stock quotes. The news from the Dow is available, too, updating around noon and after market close.

WhoWhere? also searches for personal home pages, U.S. government pages, toll-free phone numbers and Internet video phones. You can check the classified adds. Site users can also add or update the information on the site.

Be sure to check the usage agreement for WhoWhere? The agreements outlines acceptable uses for the site's services.


Calling itself "the Internet White Pages," Four11 offers searches for e-mail addresses and phone numbers, including ways to contact your favorite celebrities and government bigwigs, such as members of Congress, Cabinet members and government agency directors. What's more, you can do it in six languages.

Deeper in the site you can use an advanced e-mail searcher that combines names with organizations, online domain and associated key words to help you find the right person. You can even use an old e-mail address to search for the new one. Links to explanations will help you get the best results out of this search tool.

Four11 also gives you access to U.S. Yellow Page listings. These are compiled from the phone companies' own databases.

You have the option of registering with the site. Once you have, you can add or change information about yourself. You get a bit of privacy, because Four11 will let you suppress your listing if you want. Four11 shares its information databases with Yahoo!, Big Yellow and other sites, so anything you add to the site will be available through the others.

Four11's FAQ provides all the information you need to register and list yourself on the site. Also, check acceptable use policy for information about how the services can be used.


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