People Search

August 8th, 2007 at 12:00 am

The web has made the transition from being content heavy to being people heavy.  If we recall, the web started as an information repository for usually documents and purely information.  Today, the web is web 2.0 mainly because people now have the major say in what’s what.  Basically, the web is now powered by people.

Searching for people before was done by directories like the good ol’fashioned yellow pages where people need to sign up to that single company to be included in the list.  Today, we have search engines capable of searching people though they weren’t exactly designed to do so.

Today, Spock launched after being in private beta for the longest time.  This sparked me to write about peopls search engines.

According to VentureBeat , about 30% of searches on Google are for people.  This may have been well enough reason for Spock and Wink to set their sights on this niche.  Personally, I used the social networks like Friendster, MySpace and LinkedIn to search for people.  Of course, this is also what people search engines have in mind: crawl the social networks.

Wink came out first and as of writing, they have about 200 million people catalogued, mostly from social networks (they say so).

Here’s the test to see which one is better, type in your name and search.  I did so and I couldn’t find me on Spock but on Wink I was on the second page.  My name’s common so I guess Spock has an excuse for not making me searchable.

On Spock, their interface is really simple, query box and search button.  For Wink, they have additional options, location (which is very helpful especially for SEO’d articles) and other info (includes interests, job or any other description).  Personally, I go for Wink, not because I found myself easily but I believe they still lead in the number of people they have in their directory.

All in all, even though Google, Yahoo and Microsoft  (GYM/the big 3) have their own people search engines, they still excel in plain search compared to specialized engines. However, Spock still has to prove itself and gain on Wink if they plan to be the leader in people search engines.    That’s not much bad news because Google was once the underdog with Yahoo.