A new fearsome digital meme is solidifying in 2007, that of considering using a search engine to be stalking.
Today's Google stalk example comes from American partisan politics and the political blogosphere. A MyDD (liberal) poster describes another blogger (conservative) as stalking politicians:
To fan the flames, Michelle Malkin is doing her usual stalking job on several of the questioners and has uncovered support for some of the Democratic candidates. God forbid!
At least one conservative blogger caught this and mocked away, pointing out the misuse of a term for psychological disorder when applied to basic web search.
In a 2004 essay, "Webstalker", collected in her new book, Katha Pollitt describes Google-stalking an ex-boyfriend. She discusses this in a recent NPR interview, too. It's a fascinating use of the term, which she deliberately uses with serious, disturbing reverberations (accompanied by "ghost," "obsession"), yet also undercuts:
It’s not like I was there on the street corner copying the key to get into his apartment. All I did was sit at my computer and Google. Is that so terrible?!
How far back does the Google-stalk term go? everthing2 dates their entry as starting in 2004. Urban Dictionary dates one definition from 2003. It's old enough to be parodied as a new Google service (2007).
"Google stalk" draws on widespread concerns about visibility and privacy, of course. It also picks up on multiple worries about Google, which one wag this year dubbed FOG (Fear of Google). Google itself sometimes picks up on those worries to use rhetorically (2006).
A different negative sense for "google-stalk" comes from Five Blogs Before Lunch, which identifies it with trademark violation.