Identify analyses Profiles Across Social Networking Sites

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 20, 2009
Updated • Jun 3, 2017
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Identify is a Firefox extension that can be used to retrieve information about individuals on social networking sites. It works by visiting a profile page on a site, and pressing the Alt-I keyboard shortcut to open the Identify overlay. Mac users press Ctlr-I instead.

Say, you visit my Twitter profile page and want to find out more about me. You can do so manually, for instance by searching for my name on search engines like Startpage or on other social networking sites, or try the Identify extension for that purpose instead.

The Firefox add-on displays a stylish overlay then containing various information about the selected individual including - if available - a link to the homepage, a short about me paragraph and links to other social networking and media sites that the individual has accounts on.

Below is a screenshot of how the information are displayed in the web browser. Example of Identify showing Sarah Perez's information.

The developer does not provide extensive information about how the Identify add-on computes the information except for the following short sentences found on the project page:

It makes extensive use of Google's Social Graph API to find out about which sites an individual has profiles on and then uses YQL API to collect the information.

It can obviously only be executed on supported sites. The usual suspects like Twitter, Digg, Flickr or Friendfeed seem all to be supported by the add-on while sites like Ghacks are not. A link is provided for each identified profile on another service making it very easy to follow the trail of the individual.

Update: The extension has not been updated since 2009, and is not compatible with newer versions of the Firefox web browser anymore. I'm not aware of any other extension for Firefox or another web browser that offers the same or at least a similar functionality.

Guess its back to using search engines to find other profiles and websites of users you are interested in. While this may work well for users with unique names or rare names, you will have troubles searching for users with common names such as John Smith.

Note: The rating is based on the current status of the extension, not its previous one.

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  1. jigar said on August 24, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    hey can someone tell me how to retrieve information from socia networking sites……….i need this for my BE project

  2. Joshua Parker said on April 21, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Hmmm, that’s a neat little extension. Thanks.

  3. h9k said on April 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    ah yeah – i read that a few times and didn’t see it..
    must have link blindness

  4. Martin said on April 20, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    The link is there h9k!

  5. h9k said on April 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    it would be nice if you included a link

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