Google search results have an impact on how people perceive each other, according to research released to mark the first anniversary of the EU's right-to-be-forgotten ruling against the search engine.
The survey, which was commissioned by online reputation management firm Digitalis, found that 92% of those asked said discovering something negative online about a professional contact impacts their perception of them.
Last year, the EU ruled that Google must provide web users with the right to have links about themselves that could be seen to damage their character if judged to no longer be relevant removed from Google searches.
Google, though against the ruling, rolled out an online form that gave users in Europe the chance to submit requests about links they would like to see removed. Hundred of thousands of such requests have since been submitted.
Dave King, founder of Digitalis, said: "We have always known how important one's search engine profile can be - whether in the context of a job interview, due diligence or cursory research by clients and customers - but this research demonstrates that checking someone out online before and after a meeting really is now the norm in business."
Professional networking site LinkedIn was found to be the most trusted social source, ahead of the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Over half of those asked (52.2%) said they used a search engine to research a new contact before meeting them for the first time, with 82% saying they trust the first page rankings in search engine results.
As part of the right to be forgotten ruling, Google displays a note at the bottom of any search results that have been affected by a take down request relating to the ruling.
Emma Carr, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said that while the ruling was a good step, more needs to be done to protect the wider internet rights of users.
"The principle that you have a right to be forgotten is a laudable one, but the ruling has ultimately failed to protect internet users' privacy," she said.
"Regulators should be doing more to ensure that people have an informed choice over what data is collected about them by companies like Google. Making companies responsible for the content created by other people establishes a precedent that leads to greater surveillance and a risk of censorship.
"What we need are laws that give internet users better rights when it comes to stopping companies collecting data without proper consent or holding on to information for an unjustifiable length of time. That includes even when people have ceased to use a service."
Google is also currently being investigated by the European Commission over claims of uncompetitive behaviour regarding searches, with the internet giant accused of promoting its own services in search results at the expense of rivals.