Glamour magazine writer Samantha Henig wrote an article recently that made a compelling argument for not Googling your dates.
"The more you learn about someone, the harsher you may judge him," Henig (sagely) wrote. Not to mention the fact that the more you learn about someone (creepily, by your own endeavor), the weirder your interactions become, the more unbalanced your burgeoning relationship is in terms of information flow, the harder you have to work to keep straight the things you know about someone legitimately vs. the things you know about someone simply because you read the backlog of their Tumblr.
On top of that, Googling someone can provide you with a false idea of who they actually are. When you base your entire assumption of a person off of a few Google results, the impression you get is so unlikely to be representative of what the person is like face-to-face, or more importantly, what your chemistry is like.
Much better, much smarter, much safer, to keep away from Google, and learn about them the old-fashioned way: through conversation.
So, yes, Googling your dates is a bad idea. Very very bad. Don't do it!
(…Are you still going to do it? Yeppppp, me too. Here are some tips on how to Google-stalk your dates like a mother-effing pro.)
1. Google your date + university they attended
If googling your date's name results in thousands of hits for "Brad Smith," and you're just looking for dirt on the right Brad Smith, try searching their name with the university they attended. It'll be easier to make sure that you've got the right guy, plus you might get all kinds of vintage goodies: sports teams they played on, radical political groups they were affiliated with, quotes in their uni newspaper , groups they were in which got discredited due to unscrupulous hazing practices…
2. Google their username
If you met your date online, try Googling their username. A satisfying username takes forever to come up with, so a lot of people have a username that they use for everything from online dating sites to comment boards to Yelp to basically anything they don't want to have show up on a Google Search of their name. (Ha! As if that would stop you from finding it.)