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What is a Googleganger?

Michael Pollick
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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The author of this wiseGEEK article might be a writer/musician from Alabama, the business writer for a Florida newspaper or the resident professional at a golf course in Pennsylvania. According to the Google search engine, the writer, the journalist and the golf pro all have one thing in common, our names. Researching one's own name on Google or other search engines has created a new phenomenon known as a Googleganger. A Googleganger is one or more persons who have identical names and who all appear in a list of GOOGLE search results.

The term Googleganger is a play on the German word doppelganger, literally "double-goer," suggesting a physical twin or an eerie similarity in appearance or identity. A Googleganger may share the same name as the searcher, but thankfully not the same lifestyle. Part of the fun of researching a Googleganger is discovering how different two or more people with identical names can be. A Googleganger may be significantly older or younger than the searcher, for example.

There is always a temptation to contact a Googleganger whenever possible, and a number of searchers routinely give into that temptation. Sometimes it can be very enlightening to learn the experiences of other people who have lived with an obscure surname or an unusual first or middle name. Not all Googlegangers may feel comfortable communicating in this way with strangers who share their names, but a number of people do respond to polite queries about themselves.

Not everything about a Googleganger search is positive, however. Some Internet twins may have their names connected with criminal behavior or other negative acts. There may even be some identity issues with a Googleganger's name becoming confused with the searcher's own identification. If a person finds themselves on a "no fly" list or receives an unsolicited call from creditors or law enforcement officers, it may be the result of a Googleganger's bad acts.

Finding a Googleganger online can be an interesting experience, especially if the Internet twin has an unusual career or lifestyle. Friends and family may not even realize a Googleganger exists, which could lead to some interesting questions if the Internet twin happens to be an exotic dancer or a notorious celebrity. One female college student was surprised when her mother told her she knew about her participation in adult movies. The student discovered that one of her Googlegangers was indeed an adult film actress who had used an identical stage name. Thankfully, that confusion was cleared up quickly, but others may spend a long time wondering why their friends look at them so strangely after a routine Internet search.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to PublicPeople, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By wombon — On Jul 19, 2008

Some people have a fascination with their Googlegangers. Perhaps seeing them as akin to alter egos in another reality, or multiple egos in this reality. Given this, perhaps the death of a Googleganger is worthy of reflection. Did you just lose some part of yourself?

What is that person? How about a GOOGLEGEIST. This term currently has minor other meanings. But I posit that it be imbued with this meaning.

By anon6521 — On Jan 01, 2008

"Googleganger"?

Thanks, wiseGEEK, for informing me of the name for such.

I have a polite lady's art gallery with writings,

and when I was new at it, "Googleganger" behaviors

of all sorts of good and not-good, came to me, while I babysat my baby site's spidering into the web.

I came across several who share my name, online, in the arts and we are friends and had fun with it, except for one, who was, at first, downright violent with me, demanding that I change my name, since she felt she should be the only artist with the same name.

To charmingly resolve the issue, I researched and wrote and published "What's in a name?" listing the many, many who shared the name, and most of them really great!

It served as a little ad link for all the others, and most of all, a great power for peace and FUN!...and zero negative issues have arisen since!

HAPPY NEW YEAR ! May we celebrate our membership in the world tribe always! and may see our sameness as a plus not a minus, and use it well!

ELLE

By anon6518 — On Jan 01, 2008

But why would anyone believe someone has a secret life just because a name shows up? Usually the location of the other person would be a giveaway that it is another individual. Interesting article but I find it difficult to believe that people would think a person has such a past, especially if they knew you a long time. Or are people just incredibly nosy and trying to dig up dirt? sigh.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to PublicPeople, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
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