People search with Spock

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Spock’s got an interesting take on people search. They troll social networks for profiles. In other words, Spock aggregates content from LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, et. al., and blends it with user generated comments, posts, pictures, etc… Anyone is free to append to someone else’s profile.

One of the public databases that Spock taps into are records of political contributors. Political affiliation is an interesting facet of some peoples lives. I find it useful to know what side of the political fence they’re on before meeting them. I’m not sure that everyone wants to show their affiliation so openly, but that’s the price we pay for transparency.

A bigger question is what will drive traffic to Spock? It’s this… in 2007, it’s up to you to police your public profile. People will visit Spock just to vet their aggregated record. You assumed that your profile was going to be shared with only classmates when you joined Facebook, but that rule melted more quickly than the polar ice cap. Now that some social networks offer APIs that expose profile data you are open to the world.

To Spock’s credit, their privacy policy summarizes social networking dos and don’ts regarding privacy:

  • Never display personally identifiable information on your profiles such as home address, phone number, birth date, social security number, or email address.
  • If you do not want your profile to be indexed by search engines, make your profile private. Most social networks allow you to make your profile private in their account settings page.
  • If other search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) are displaying web search results that are inaccurate or reveal personally identifiable information, please work with the search engine directly to remove those results from their index and work with the source website to remove your information.
  • Never give out personally identifiable information in public online discussion groups, blogs, or chat rooms.

Spock’s ambition is to index everyone on the planet. I guess social networks are a good place to start, but it begs the question. When will digital social networking reach 100% global market penetration?

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2 Responses to “People search with Spock”

  1. namewitheld Says:

    Let me tell you what really happens. People who are active on spock get a “spock power” rating that gives them more weight in voting and tagging profiles. Those less active get little or no spock power rating. Right now, I’m trying to get my private beta version removed from spock but the assholes are stonewalling me. Once you’re on spock, there’s no way to get off of it short of finding the server itself and degausing it. If they tell you they will delete it, it’s a lie.

  2. Kenneth Udut Says:

    I’m hooked on spock myself. I truly believe that it will be a force to be reckoned with not so far from now. Us early adopters will get to watch the usage grow and new and interesting things will certainly emerge over time.

    I love being able to link myself to my favorite authors, or linking together my old classmates, finding old work buddies, friends from long ago. It’s not social networking really, but it works like a gigantic “who’s who” directory, both of the famous and the not-so-famous and people like me, the ordinary.

    Kenneth Udut
    http://www.spock.com/Kenneth-Udut
    in the top 10 of spock leaderboard (for now! that can change quickly!!)


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