Hack: Google for Facebook Photos Interpretations #OSINT

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Based on the following two behaviors from the tech giants:

  1. Facebook interprets pictures and inserts the interpretation into its public pages HTML code
  2. Googlebot indexes these interpretation phrases

– you can reveal lists of members’ names and profiles based on Google’s image search.

The two Facebook phrases most common for tagging photos are:

  1. “Image may contain… “, for example, “image may contain 7 people.”
  2. “Text that says,” for example, “text that says right to left.” 

As an end-user, you cannot see the phrases on the pages, but they appear in Google’s indexing. (I will skip discussing the reason.)

Example X-Ray (note that I am searching in “photos” for better results):

Try a similar search and count people in a picture. Facebook is excellent at recognizing and counting us!

(You can also search for cats, mice, elephants, or fights, guns, and other things. It is an OSINT technique for sure.)

Now, make the search more useful by a) customizing to your recruiting needs and b) specifically looking for pictures where people are tagged. Use your target terms, words pointing to lists, and words for photos with people. It can be a hit and miss; vary the strings a lot. Example:

Here are some example lists you can uncover (one more is at the top of the post):

(Zoom “selfies” is a category of its own!)

Your comments are welcome!

Eleven Diversity Sourcing Exam-Like Questions

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In 2020, Diversity is on everyone’s mind. Our first run of the Diversity Sourcing Training and Certification Program has exceeded our expectations in the way it has been received. We have an audience of thirty eager to learn recruiters. They show a “can’t wait to put my hands on it” attitude, which every trainer loves. They ask questions. They tell us that they love the program; not a single one has complained. The first seven people already graduated with a CDSP credential.

Our next program run is scheduled to start on November 10, 2020 and . Again, it will be limited to 30 people. Visit the page to sign up.

Soon, we will look at scaling up the program to have fewer monthly limitations.

I want to share with you some examples of the questions participants may get at the exams. (No, you are on your own!)

As you can see, all questions fall into six categories in application to Diversity sourcing:

  1. Exploratory Research
  2. Google Search
  3. X-Ray
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Social Sourcing
  6. Cross-Referencing

These questions are similar to the ones we have been giving at the general Sourcing Certification Exams.

Have fun:

  1. This woman is Director, Consumer Banking & ME Region Exec, Bank of America, and moderates a “Meet the Experts” panel at a conference of which association (enter its URL)?
  2. How many members of vetfriends.com by the name of Mark Jones served as Coastguards?
  3. The first African American to serve on the board of Alphabet and Google was formerly a partner at which consulting firm?
  4. This member of Anita.org – https://community.anitab.org/author/natashagreen25/ – is the owner of a company that gives lessons in:
    – PowerPoint
    – Greek
    – Archery
    – Scuba diving
  5. The Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce has a business directory listing a person from the Navy Federal Credit Union. What is her top endorsed skill according to her LinkedIn profile?
  6. What is the closest number? In the United States, minority-owned businesses enterprises make up about X percent of the nation’s total businesses.
    A. 2%
    B. 15%
    C. 20%
    D. 33%
  7. According to LinkedIn, what is the top college that employees of White Mountain Apache Tribe graduated from?
  8. How many people have “Diversity & Inclusion Officer” as part of their job title on LinkedIn, live in Washington, DC, and are interested in joining a non-profit board?
  9. How many African American CEOs are there among Fortune 500 companies?
  10. How would you complete the string to X-Ray for members of the International Association of Women? site:*
  11. This woman is a Chapter President of the Alaska Chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. What statement describes her employer most closely?
  • “Alaska Natives”-oriented association
  • Oil pipeline transportation company
  • Supply chain management
  • Public relations

Diversity Sourcing: Bird’s Eye View

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While we always “search for what we expect to find” as “the” approach to any sourcing, Diversity sourcing has its unique characteristics – and it is not easy. Here are the main points that stand out in our sourcing practice. I believe they are universal. Let me know what you think.

Diversity sourcing primarily relies on two techniques:

1. Long OR searches


  • Ethnic or female first names
  • Ethnic last names – for example, Hispanic or American Indian
  • Names of colleges – Historically Black, women-only, etc.
  • Diversity associations, events
  • Use these on LinkedIn.com or Recruiter
  • Since Google’s ORs are limited, utilize Custom Search Engines

Finding the terms for OR statements is easy; just Google.

2. Advanced image search

Three things to keep in mind:

  1. You must review each result and look at the photo if present.
  2. You will see false positives pretty much for any specialized search.
    • Why? Because some first names can be women’s and men’s; men can belong to women’s organizations and attend women colleges; white men can attend diversity universities, etc.
  3. Important! Any specialized search restricts results to a small subset of what you want to find. The majority of diverse candidates do not tell you how they are different in social profiles or resumes. They do not have an identifying name, do not belong to associations, and did not go to diversity schools. Do not miss them.
    • For that reason, search without diversity filters as well and eyeball the results.

To learn to navigate the complex process, sign up for our new Program with three days of learning, practice, and support, and prove your skills by taking the Diversity Sourcing exam (CDSP).

Your upcoming 3-day course is perfectly timed for many employers aspiring to improve their diverse work culture.” – Bill Bargas, Owner, diversity.com

Recruiters, do not miss the Program – it has only a few spaces left.

We will wait for feedback and questions and will make it a regular class. Next time, we will present in November, most likely. Stay tuned!


New! Diversity Sourcing Training & Certification Program

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With the unmistakably fast-growing demand for diversity sourcing in 2020, we at Sourcing Certifications have developed and are opening, as of today, a Diversity Sourcing Training and Certification Program.

I am excited about the new offering! It will include:

  1. Webinar on sourcing
  2. Webinar on diversity sourcing
  3. Interactive diversity sourcing practice
  4. One month of support
  5. Certified Diversity Sourcing Professional (CDSP) exam

One cannot be a skilled “diversity recruiter” and mediocre recruiter. Our Program will help you in all aspects of daily sourcing, not just sourcing for Diversity.

We have built the main class content from our class Sourcing for Diversity, custom presentations for recruiting teams, and extensive experience sourcing.

We have added an initial introductory webinar on the foundation of sourcing to ensure the participants and we are on the same page, and they are ready for the main content. The first webinar is not just for beginners; as an attendee said, “If you are new to Boolean search or a Boolean search expert, you will get something out of the class.”

We follow the first foundational sourcing class with a webinar and an interactive practice on diversity sourcing. Participants are encouraged to practice the techniques on their own after the presentation. (Otherwise, what is the point?) If you take part, you can ask any relevant sourcing questions during the month of support (a value of its own by the way!)

You will find a detailed outline of every step on the sign-up page.

Diversity Sourcing Certification Exams will be similar to our general Sourcing Certification Exams but 30% shorter and specific to the skills we are testing.

Additional resource: we have published a practice book for the Sourcing Certification exams that would serve well to prepare for the Diversity exam in addition to the Program material. (Statistics show that everyone who got the ebook passed the exam.)

Please do not wait and go to the Diversity Sourcing Program Registration. The initial offering is limited to 30 people.

If you have questions about the upcoming Program or wish to custom-train and certify a team, please contact us.

Google’s Hidden Gigantic Visual Repository

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As I was reading through Searching for images with filetype: on Google? by Dan Russell of Google, I was not that surprised that filetype: takes different arguments and finds different things on Google.com and image search. I had seen this behavior. But this was stunning:

“to find an image, you have to use Images.Google.com. “

Dan’s post implied that

Google’s index for images is separate from its main index.

I emailed Dan and asked whether it was, indeed, true. Yes, he replied:

“Images, Videos, News, Web, Scholar (etc.) are all in separate indices.  Normally we blend all of the results together, which is why you’ll see images in a query.  BUT if you search “All” for image filetypes, you won’t find them because they’re in a separate index.  No blending is done with specialty operators (e.g., filetype: inurl: etc.)” 

I have observed some search strings returning no results on Google but some in Google images and was wondering why. That explains it.

Google’s images are on the surface web and can be easily discovered. But those that did not make it to the main index are rarely found because people do not search in Images.

The same is true about all other Google’s specialty searches (such as Google Scholar), as Dan confirms  – they, too, have separate indices.

Very interesting! There are implications for OSINT, sourcing, and any type of research. Live and learn.

Social List Gets its First Diversity Agent

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Are you sourcing for diversity? Those of us who are, know how laborious sourcing can become if you aim to be genuinely inclusive.
As a solution to some of those sourcing pains, the Social List Team is happy to introduce –

LinkedIn Agent – Diversity – Females.

(If you are unfamiliar with our tool Social List, it allows you to find instantly, enrich, and export target lists of pubic profiles from various social networks. The tool is subscription-based, with a 7-day trial.)

The new Diversity Agent has the same UI as LinkedIn Agent (see the blurred screenshot above) but will return only (or mostly) women’s profiles.
Note that, while you get instant results, do not expect them to be “perfect” (at least not until we have polished the algorithm):
  1. Social List may miss some matching results (this applies to any Social List search and Google search as well)
  2. You may see some false positives (i.e., men) for some queries. Please report those to us; it will help us to come up with a workaround. You can copy and paste a past search URL into your report if you click on your name in the top right corner on Social List.
With the new Diversity Agent, you will get lists of potential candidates to process in seconds, usually on target. (You may see some “wrong” images in the UI, but the results will be right.) There are few tools like that.
If you are not a Social List subscriber yet, you can sign up and get a 7-day trial. We require a CC up front, but we will not charge your card if you cancel in the first seven days.
P.S. FYI, we offer a hands-on Diversity Sourcing Class. It is informative and up-to-date.
We are about to expand the offering to a class for any skill level combined with a newly-designed Diversity Sourcing certification exam. Stay tuned!

Sourcing in LinkedIn Events

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While Facebook has stopped showing event attendees in most cases, LinkedIn has started doing so, for our benefit.

LinkedIn has just introduced Event search. Pick an event that is of interest to people you would like to connect and mark yourself as “attending.” (Marking means an intention to attend). You can then not only see the full list of attendees but can also search within it by the usual filters like company, title, and location.

As an example, here is, for our Online Sourcing Day 2 on Nov 4, 2020 (which you should attend if sourcing interests you!), LI Event https://www.linkedin.com/events/6702666182127968256/.

Mark yourself as attending, and you can search using any filters within the group of attendees:

What are some use cases for searching for professionals in an event?

  • Connect and network with people attending a conference in the same industry
  • Find colleagues to hire or an opportunity to pursue
  • Find a conference attended by potential candidates in your industry and source them the same way. It might help that you saw their interest in the meeting to qualify and start communicating with them.
  • If it is your event, learn about participants’ backgrounds to improve content delivery; communicate with them on feedback and future events.

And please sign up for OSLD-2! That is going to be six hours of awesome sourcing content.

Fifth Edition of “300 Best Boolean Strings” & One More String

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I am glad to announce that you can preorder the fifth edition of my popular eBook “300 Best Boolean Strings” at


For the 5th edition, I had to replace about 35% of strings that no longer brought up remarkable results, and added new strings.

And here is a new String for you. To X-Ray Facebook for specific content, use this (replace keywords with your terms):

site:facebook.com “text that says * <keywords>”

For example,

Get 300 more strings in the new edition of the eBook!

The Unconventional Boolean

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I have realized that I have been using some “unconventional” Boolean Strings in sourcing. This technique applies to LinkedIn or any database, but not to Google (where ORs are rarely helpful and long ORs are tricky).

Let me explain. It is straightforward to search by ORs of synonyms, for example,

Title = (Senior OR Sr. OR snr.) (software OR java) (developer OR engineer OR coder) (etc.).

On LinkedIn, we must do this because its semantic interpretation is flawed. But here is a twist.

Collect keywords intended for the title field and keywords, and, optionally, employers, and skills. Give the word “weights,” depending on how important they are. For example:

  • Java – must have
  • Back-end OR Full-Stack – must have
  • Developer or its synonyms – must have
  • Javascript OR Python – nice to have
  • Elastic search – nice to have
  • MongoDB or similar – nice to have
  • Scalable or its synonyms – a plus
  • Healthcare OR Medical Device industry – a plus

Group must-have, nice to have, and the “plus” keywords into OR statement, and search for the resulting string. (If you wish, use more granular weights.) Depending on the resulting quality and number of results, put the expressions either all in the Keywords or some, in the title and other fields separately. Run something like this:

Keywords = Java (Back-end OR Full-Stack) (Developer OR engineer) (Javascript OR python OR elastic OR mongodb OR nosql) (scalable OR performance OR healthcare OR “medical device”).

Then, you can expand each of the ORs in the string to accommodate the most essential and optional terms and add exclusions if you see false positives (for example, managers). You can also move the terms from the keywords to the title to see if you get more targeted results.

You will be un-digging results that nobody else does.

Try it!







How to Read the News Behind Paywalls

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I love reading Recruiting Brainfood and the industry discussions that Hung holds so well.

Unfortunately, in the newsletter and in Facebook discussions great shared content is often behind a paywall. Here is what you can do about it.

  1. Copy the URL and rid of its part after ?
  2. Use the operator cached: followed by the URL, for example:


Read the post uninterrupted!

If the cached copy does not come up, use Plan B.

Google for a phrase from the news piece, for example: “The robot revolution has arrived · Machines now perform all sorts of tasks…” You are likely to find the full story there.

You will not find this material by any Googling though.