Sometimes, after meeting somebody, you get that weird... vibe about them. Or maybe, you're simply intrigued about them. You want to know everything you possibly can about them, so that's when you decide to log in to your computer and search their name. More often than not, your search returns nothing, prompting you to want to know more about them. Sometimes, you get results, but they were nothing like you were expecting. This is often how attraction starts between characters, prompting them to want to get to know you. If the person you're searching has a pretty common name, but you still manage to find information on him, that's It's a Small Net After All.
- There's a commercial for a fast AT&T 4G phone where a guy and a girl are speed-dating, and as the guy is giving the girl lines, she's reading the opposite of what he's telling her off his online dating profile page and calling him on it.
- In Death Note, when Light Yagami and Misa Amane discover they are the first and second Kira, respectively, the first thing they do is try to look information about each other. Light, while a genius, keeps his profile low, just giving basic information on his online profile. Misa on the other hand, is a famous model with a lot of public interaction and public events. Obviously this initially stresses Light quite a bit.
- At the start of the Ghost in the Shell: Arise manga, Aramaki gives Batou an order to deliver a package. Even though Section 9 hadn't officially existed yet, and it wasn't an order he had to follow, the team decided he was the best for the job because Motoko ran a background check and found out he used to work as a postal delivery man before he joined the military. Batou was not amused.
- Catwoman (2004) had Detective Lone Google the artwork on Patience Phillips' walls after meeting her.
- In Taken 2, when Bryan finds out that his daughter Kimmy has a new boyfriend, the first thing he does is run a background check... just as he did with all her other previous boyfriends. His ex-wife Lenore even tells him to not run a background check on the new guy, because she knows that he ALWAYS does this.
- Tony Stark did this with Black Widow in Iron Man 2.
- In Twilight, Bella searches about vampires after hearing Jacob Black describe the local legends about them. She tries to put two and two together to figure out what Edward really was.
- Used as a gag in Amazon Women on the Moon (predating the World Wide Web!) when a woman runs a background check on a blind date. Things don't go well.
- In Desk Set, the woman who runs the reference desk of an international corporation has lunch with a consultant who's been dropped into her lap. She proceeds to demonstrate the power at her command by giving him a biography of his life.
You were born in Columbus, Ohio in May. That makes you a Gemini. You're a graduate of M.I.T. With a PhD in Science. You're a Phi Beta Kappa, although you don't wear your key, which means either that you're modest or that you lost it. You spent World War II in Greenland ... working on something so top secret that even I couldn't find out about it. You're one of the leading exponents of the electronic brain in this country, and the inventor of an electronic brain machine called EMMARAC - the Electromagnetic Memory and Research Arithmetical Calculator.That's all I found out so far, but I only had half an hour.
- In the novel of The Devil Wears Prada, we get a lot of backstory on Miranda from what Andrea says about her Google search just after she gets the job.
- Star Wars Legends: During Galaxy of Fear Tash meets a man who everyone agrees is crazy. She's told he's the sole survivor of a Coming in Hot situation, his mind snapped, and if he leaves D'vouran he'll be apprehended by the authorities. She accesses the Holonet to look up records on him and finds that they match what she's been told, but notices a program attached to the records that alerts someone that she's accessed them, and naturally Tash finds this suspicious.
- In an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Xander is initially squicked when Willow says she's Googling a student Buffy is trying to help until he's told what it means.
- Doctor Who:
- "Rose", the first episode of the new series, has Rose look up "the Doctor" shortly after meeting him. When that predictably gives her a huge bevy of irrelevant results, she tightens the search to "Doctor Blue Box", and finds a related website with improbable ease.
- "Spyfall": When companions Yaz and Ryan go undercover as reporters to interview billionaire Daniel Barton, he looks up "Sofia Afzal" and "Logan Jackson" on his phone to be sure they are who they say they are. Thanks to tech borrowed from MI6, Yaz and Ryan's covers possess an online presence that ensures Barton finds nothing amiss.
- Drake & Josh: In "My Dinner with Bobo", Drake and Josh sell their new pet orangutan to a scientist who says he worked with apes in Africa. A suspicious Megan does a search on the guy and finds out that he fled while being prosecuted for trying to eat primates.
- In Elementary, on the other hand, Holmes has already Googled Watson before meeting her in person, resulting in this gag that made it into the previews:
Watson: How did you know my dad had an affair?
Holmes: Google. (beat) Well, not everything is deducible.
- A variant occurs in FlashForward (2009), when people take to checking the Mosaic website to find out about people. This most notably occurs with Janis and Maya.
- Relied upon for the 'Lorenzo von Matterhorn' play from Barney's Playbook in How I Met Your Mother to work.
- Also invoked in one episode where Ted mentions how dating isn't like it used to be since people can find out all sorts of things about you before you even go on a first date. So when he asks out the chick of the day, they decide to make a pact not to google each other before their date. Naturally his friends being the nosy-nellies that they are (even lampshaded by Robin's current therapist boyfriend) Google her instead. Commence them freaking out and trying to get Ted to look at what they found. He finally caves in, and instead of it being awful, it turns out the girl is a rocket-scientist-baby-saving-extremely-wealthy-miracle woman. So Ted blows the date by having an inferiority complex.
- On Scrubs a patient Dr. Kelso is treating finds information about him and her medical condition via her smart phone, faster -and more accurately- than he was telling her. Being somewhat behind the times, he had no idea how she was doing it until Dr. Cox mentioned it as something patients have started doing.
- Watson does this with Sherlock Holmes in the first episode of Sherlock, which brings him naturally to Holmes' website.
- It's a running gag on Silicon Valley that the guys Google new associates, and autocomplete tells us about their character before they even do the search. When they Google Russ Hanneman, for example, the top autocomplete suggestions are "douchebag", "sexual harassment lawsuit", "billionaire" and "misogynist".
- Justice League Unlimited: When the archaeologist Carter Hall asks Hawkgirl out on a date (and she accepts), Batman looks up the man online—and finds that he has a long history of starting flame wars by white knighting on "I hate Hawkgirl" web forums. This is the first evidence that Carter is a little bit obsessed with Hawkgirl.
- Employers have the right to check a potential employee's Facebook page (just as anyone does by simply typing someone's name into the search bar), but it is illegal to ask for the applicant's profile name and password. If the employer insists on seeing it, he has to allow you to log in personally. More on The Other Wiki here.
- Police going undercover to infiltrate criminal organizations have discovered this becoming a problem. Creating a false identity is harder because crooks can, and will, check to see if someone has an online presence—and thus existed—before meeting them. It also means undercovers tend to be paranoid about being in pictures taken at official functions because those types of things often end up on department webpages where anyone can see them.
- Of course, this works two ways: it's a lot easier to keep track of who might be associated with a biker gang when the first thing someone who's patched in does is take selfies with the boys at the celebration, and so authorities can learn a lot about a group before trying to infiltrate them.