Ego surfing

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Egosurfing (also Vanity Searching , Ego Searching ) is a combination of the words "ego" ( lat. I ) and Surfing composite neologism that refers to the widespread practice of using search engines to find websites that contain the unique name. Due to the widespread use of the Google search engine , the term self-googling is often used in English-speaking countries.


The term egosurfing was first used in Wired magazine in 1995 . In the choice of the youth word of 2010, egosurfing was chosen in 3rd place, because according to the jury it is particularly topical due to the spread of social networks.


Basically, a distinction can be made between two motivations for egosurfing:

If it happens out of pure vanity or curiosity, English is also referred to as vanity searching . The term comes from the English vanity (vanity) and search (search). “Vanity” is understood more in the sense of “self-centeredness” (see also Vanity Number ). This practice tries to assess the popularity of oneself or the level of awareness of one's company. The absolute number of search results or the position within the search results are used as a guide. These results can, however, be falsified by the formulation of the search query and the search engine's own sorting algorithm and manipulated by Google bombs , search engine spamming and search engine optimization .

The other reason for egosurfing is to check what information about yourself is circulating on the internet. The control of one's own image on the Internet shows what potential partners or employers are shown when searching and what impression they get afterwards (reputation management). People of the same name who are found on the basis of egosurfing research are referred to as google goers based on the word doppelganger . This type of self-research is recommended by data protectionists to protect against the publication of personal data that violates the Federal Data Protection Act and to protect against identity theft. Special people search engines like Yasni are able to assign search results to a single person and can therefore output the results in a targeted manner and related to a specific person. This person-related search can be used, for example, to find images that have been uploaded by other people without permission and thus violate the right to one's own image . Other personal data that has not been published by yourself can also be found in this way. Egosurfing thus serves to safeguard the right to informational self-determination . If potential violations of this are noticed in the course of egosurfing, one can exercise the existing rights according to § 6 Abs. 1 BDSG (see Federal Data Protection Act # Rights of the Affected ).

User numbers in Germany

According to a survey from 2015, 74 percent of German Internet users aged 14 and over enter their own name into a search engine to find out whether there are any entries.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Tom McNichol: Why Google Wants You to Google Yourself , In: Time Magazine , April 25, 2009 (accessed May 23, 2012)
  2. G. Branwyn: Jargon Watch , In: Wired , March 2005
  3. “Egosurfing” in 3rd place ( memento of the original from November 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. des Jugendwortes des Jahres 2010, (accessed 23 May 2012)  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. "Self-Googling" isn't just vanity , press release from the University at Buffalo, March 2004 (accessed May 23, 2012)
  5. “Search for traces on the Internet” (PDF file, 0.8 MB)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. - Handout of the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (accessed May 23, 2012)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  6. The vast majority of internet users google themselves . Bitkom press release of January 29, 2016, accessed on February 11, 2016.
  7. Ego googling is trendy . from January 29, 2016, accessed February 11, 2016.