Like most search quality engineers at Google, the projects I work on revolve around helping people find information. The vast amount of content on the web makes this a daunting task—sometimes it feels like searching for a needle in a field full of haystacks. I've always thought one of the amazing abilities of search is how it can sift through that content to help make a connection that otherwise would never be made.
Because of this, some of my favorite search stories come from people who have used Google to reunite with loved ones and family members. It's inspiring to know that search has played a role in creating some of the most important moments in people's lives. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Willie met Elizabeth long before Google existed, but used search to find her 24 years later:
I would like to thank you for helping to bring me together with my girlfriend. We hope you will enjoy hearing how your company played a part in our wonderful romance. Here's how it happened:
Elizabeth and I originally met in a club in 1986. We hit it off very well in that brief encounter but did not start a relationship at that time. Twenty-four years later, because she had made such a powerful impression, I still remembered Elizabeth well. I decided to try to contact her. I Googled her, using her name and hometown and was delighted to find her in the top spot. I emailed her, and we began an email and texting campaign. We were reunited several weeks later, fell in love soon after, and have been inseparable ever since. Thank you Google for enabling me to find my sweetheart all these years later!
Twenty-one years ago I was an art student living in London. One day a friend talked me into having a beer after our painting class...little did I know that one decision would change my life forever. That afternoon we walked into a pub in Nottinghill and I saw a really cute guy having tea with a friend—he and I couldn't stop looking at each other! As I got up to leave, I told him he was “cute” so he asked me out. Because of my busy schedule at school we only had one date but I was absolutely smitten with him. (He used to slip love notes through my front door in the morning.) A few weeks later, I had to return to the US and I phoned him from Heathrow to say good-bye and that I was sorry I didn't get to spend more time with him. I had been busy with my final exams, but he just assumed I had been brushing him off which was not true! I was only 20 years old and I knew I had to go back home to the US, how could it possibly work?
Fast forward 18 years and I'm sitting in my apartment in NYC and thinking about my long lost Hans. I Googled his name and found him still living in London. I sent him an email and asked him if he remembered me. He wrote back and said “Yes” and that he would be traveling to NYC in two weeks and could we have dinner? Our first official date was Waldorf salad at the Waldorf Astoria. We discovered after all those years that the initial spark was still there. We dated back and forth between NYC and London for two years. Last year he moved back to the Netherlands and he asked me to join him a few months later. We got married on August 21, 2009.
For many years I have been using Google as a search tool looking for my biological mother in Australia. In May 2009 a Google search led me to my mother's name on an Internet site. From there I was able to research and confirm that the name on the Google page was in fact my real mother. I made contact in June 2009 and we have been enjoying a wonderful reunion via email and telephone ever since. My mother is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on December 12 2009 and after 43 years we get to meet each other in person for the fist time. My new-found mother will now be able to share Christmas with her new found family.