People search the next big thing?

November 1, 2006

There are so many different social networking sites out there now where users have their own profile pages to tell the world (or just their friends) about themselves but how do you go about finding someone??

Well you could go and search every one of those sites in the vain hope of coming across the person you’re looking for. Or you could Google for them and hope that one of their profiles has been indexed in the engines database.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a search engine that focused on finding people rather than things? All search engines at the moment have algorithms tailored to finding information however abstract, not in finding a person or people. I’m surprised Google haven’t released a find people option with a slightly different algorithm biased towards people. In this age of information overload it would be a real boon for people searching for friends, old colleagues, prospective employees (imagine the benefits a headhunter could derive from this).

A new service called Spock (currently in beta) is promising to bring people search up to date. I’ve signed up for the beta, but yet to have an invitation so that’s all I can tell you at the moment. I’m hoping it may do everything I’ve written about above, I’ll update as and when I find out more!

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2 Responses to “People search the next big thing?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Other company such as Zoominfo.com have been doing this type of thing, but in a slightly different manner for a couple years.

  2. dmc Says:

    Zoominfo results are usually pretty rough, based on collecting data from company websites and PR/news.

    they profess 30M profiles, however i’d guess perhaps 1/3 of that data is dups, and another 1/3 isn’t very usable. so let’s say they have ~10M profiles with some useful data. good, but still not really comprehensive enough for average consumer use.

    LinkedIn data is better since it’s submitted by users themselves, however again perhaps only 1/3 of their 8M profiles are described in significant detail. a large % of their users have only a few connections and very sparse info on the individuals.

    both of these services are useful, but largely focused on business professionals & occupational data, not average consumers & social behavior.

    MySpace and Facebook are better examples of rich profile data. however people search on either environment only searches their own proprietary profiles. and the search on MySpace is pretty poor, at least right now.

    Wikipedia does a pretty good job if the person is famous, but otherwise you won’t find your friend down the street.

    in short, there really isn’t a good site for doing comprehensive consumer-oriented people search.

    yet.


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