Using Google’s Operator Functions to Find Just About Anything

man_magnifying-glass_LI-long-post Using Google’s Operator Functions to Find Just About Anything

Photo: Mari Lezhava

Have you ever met someone at a networking event, but forgot to get their card?

If you remember their name and the company they work for, you can play detective using Google’s operator function.

What is the Google Operator function?

This function allows users to view website pages Google’s indexed. You can search through the site for specific phrases.


Let’s say you met Tom Hood, CPA, from the Maryland Association of CPAs, but forgot to get his card.

  1. Open the Google search engine.
  2. Enter “ tom hood” into Google’s search box, and on the search results page, his contact information link should appear.

Tip: Do not include the quote marks in your search. That would cause the search engine to look for that specific phrase, which it may not find.

Once you find his email address, you may want to verify it. Two tools you can use are:

  1. Email Checker, which tells you if the mail server ( is valid and if the email address on that server is valid.
  2. Rapportive is an alternative if Email Checker doesn’t work. It’s a Chrome plugin that allows you to leverage Gmail and LinkedIn to provide information like company name, job title, Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile, and LinkedIn connections.

Consider creating this an ever-note tip so you will have it handy next time you’re networking.

Disclaimer: This post originally appeared in the CPA Client Bulletin Resource Guide, © 2017, AICPA. Reprinted by permission.