Find the one that got away with Long Time Lost

The sky is the limit with Long Time Lost, a service that helps you track people down using search engines.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Getting in touch with people from your past can be difficult, especially if they don't show up in a Google search or on popular social networks. The truth is, without a large Internet presence or a last name such as "Einstein," you're going to be tough to find for the casual searcher, which is where Long Time Lost attempts to fill in the gaps. Long Time Lost essentially lets you create a beacon to get the attention of the person for whom you're searching or others who know their whereabouts. This virtual beacon shows up as a result on several major search engines when people search for that name.

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The beacon itself is a small, user-written description of how you know that person, why you're looking for them, and whatever other information you feel is pertinent. You also get to upload any pictures you might find helpful to identify that person or jog their memory as to what you looked like in 1986 (you still wear that Members Only jacket, right?) Clicking on the picture makes it pop up. You can then either provide the searcher with more information or identify yourself as the person they're looking for. Doing so sends the original searcher an e-mail with an update on their search status.

So far, the service has connected 56 people, pretty impressive considering there's only about 600 people listed on the service. Short of hiring a private investigator, there's not really an easy way to track people down, which is where this service might appeal to the casual searcher. I still think once you've finally tracked them down, they might be a little creeped out you gave them their own Google search result. I know I would.