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Yahoo People Search

Learn how to use Yahoo People Search and read about its features.

Yahoo People Search can help find old classmates or distant relatives. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Yahoo People Search can help find old classmates or distant relatives.

Yahoo People Search is a division of the Yahoo search engine. It is devoted to combing the Internet and locating contact information. This powerful search tool can assist with finding former schoolmates, estranged family members, birth families and anyone else residing in the United States at no cost to the user.

How Yahoo People Search Works

Much like the standard Yahoo search engine, Yahoo People Search searches for information related to the query in one of three ways:

  • Using Web crawlers to uncover contact information posted online
  • Through a license agreement with Intelius, a third party that provides publicly available information
  • From information provided to the Yahoo White Pages database by registered Yahoo users

Use of Yahoo's search engine portals and other services constitutes acceptance of Yahoo's terms of service, which prohibits stalking, harassing or otherwise harming others through the use of Yahoo's products and services.

Using Yahoo People Search

Users can visit the Yahoo People Search main page to search for individuals who reside within the United States. Users enter known information, such as a first and last name, city, town or phone number into blank fields and select the search button. Yahoo will then return search results ranked in order of relevance, with contact information topping the list.

To find contact information for U.S. citizens living abroad and citizens of other countries, users should go to Yahoo International. Users can select from countries in Europe and Asia Pacific as part of the search criteria. Web searches performed on each country's Yahoo portal are displayed in the country's native language.

Editing Personal Information

Users are not required to register with Yahoo unless they want to add or edit personal information in the Yahoo White Pages database. This requires signing into Yahoo and selecting the Add/Edit Profile option. Those who prefer to opt out of Yahoo White Pages listings can visit the Intelius removal page. Yahoo is unable to add, edit or remove contact information found elsewhere on the Internet.

Accuracy of Information

Yahoo People Search can generate mixed results. This is due to the variety of sources from which Yahoo obtains contact data. Registered Yahoo users are likely to provide accurate profile information, but may not update new addresses, e-mail accounts and other data regularly. Information garnered from public domain can also be outdated or contain typos that render it inaccurate. In general, results yielding contact pages from frequently updated personal Web sites, such as blogs or social networking pages, have a higher chance of containing current and accurate contact information.

Privacy Concerns

The amount of data Yahoo or other people finder Web sites can display may be changing. Time Magazine Online featured a story about the unprecedented decision made by an Argentinean court to protect the privacy of Argentine celebrities. In 2008, both Google and Yahoo's Argentinean portals were placed under court order to suspend search results on 110 of the country's public figures. As of this writing, Yahoo Argentina has complied with the court order, while Google has appealed the decision. The U.S. portal of Yahoo People Search remains unaffected by the court's decision, but the legal precedence set forth could have a future impact on Internet privacy laws worldwide.

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