Thursday, December 20, 2012

Answer: Looking for just the right person?

Quick answer:  It's a RED couch.   
Red couch

Some times it helps to understand the structure of an information resource.  In particular, the internal structure of URLs is sometimes handy for searching out particular pieces of information.

In this case, the challenge was to find someone whose G+ profile has his LinkedIn, Twitter and Pintrest URLs in it.  Let’s start with this part first (we’ll worry about the furniture in a second.) 

To solve this one you can search for

[ inurl:about pinterest ]

Why this query? 

First, I want to limit the query to search JUST G+ profiles.  So I want to site: limit my searches to just – that makes sense.  Next, I ALSO want to search in for all of the ABOUT pages.  If you look at a few G+ ABOUT pages, you’ll see they all have a URL that looks like this (this isn’t a real G+ url, just a model of one):

That is, they all have the word “about” as part of the URL. 

So, if we include the search filter  inurl:about that will return only G+ profile ABOUT pages. 

Now, we just add search terms and pintrest to the search, we’ll find only those profiles that also include all three of those social media sites.

If you go one step farther and change to (because you figure he’s living in or near Australia), then you’ll reduce the number of hits to 5.  It’s  a quick scanning problem now!

So you just scan the profiles that come up, and figure out it’s Phillip Drury, with an About page on Google+, that also lists his, and pintrest connections. 

If you follow his LinkedIn profile there’s a link to the company page:

A quick click, and you’ll see it’s a RED couch that’s on his company website.

Search lesson:  Normally for a person search I would have started broadly and narrowed it down as I went along.  But in this case, the criteria were SO specific (lives in/near Australia, 3 specific social media sites, G+ profile) that I could construct a pretty focused query. 

As I mentioned, sometimes knowing a little bit about how a site is constructed lets you create a specific filter for content that’s otherwise difficult to limit.  Keep that in mind when you’re trying to do deep searches within the interior of a website.

Search on! 

(Many thanks to Phillip Drury of Clemenger Tasmania for being our sought-out man in the antipodes!)  

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