Find People with Spock

Today, Google is the main source for finding information on the web, regardless of the kind of information you’re looking for. Let it be company information, diseases, or to find people – Google is used for finding everything. While Google is doing a great job in finding relevant information, it can be good to explore alternatives that are concentrated upon a more specific target.

In the previous post, Karl blogged about alternatives to Google that provides a different user interface. Earlier, Caroline has enlightened us about search engines that leads to new ways on how to use search. Today I am going to continue on these tracks and tell you a bit about a new challenger, Spock, and my first impressions of using it.

Spock, relased last week in beta version, is a search engine for finding people. Interest in finding people, both celebreties and ordinary people has risen the past years; just look at the popularity of social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. By using a search engine dedicated to finding people, you get more relevancy in the hits and more information in each hit. Spock crawls the above mentioned sites, as well as a bunch of others to gather the information about people you want to find.

When you begin to use Spock, you instantly see the difference in search results compared to Google. Searching for “Java developer Seattle” in Spock returns a huge list of Java developers positioned in Seattle. With Google, you get a bunch of hiring applications. Searching for a famous person like Steve Jobs with Google, you find yourself with thousands of pages about the CEO of Apple. Using Spock, you will learn that there are a lot of other people around the world also named Steve Jobs. With each hit, you find more information such as pictures, related people, links to pages that the person is mentioned on, etc.

In true Web 2.0 fashion, Spock uses tags to place people into categories. By exploring these tags, you will find even more people that might be of interest. Users can even register on Spock to add and edit tags and information about people.

Over all, Spock seems like a great search engine to me. The fact that users can contribute to the content, a fact that has made Wikipedia to what it is today, combined with good relevancy and a clean interface it has a promising future. It also shows how it is possible to compete with Google and the other giants at the search market by focusing on a specific target and deliver an excellent search experience in that particular area.

One thought on “Find People with Spock

  1. I think all these new search engines, like Spock, are very interesting.
    If Spock can manage to collect information from all social sites on the web as well as other important sources, I think they’re on to something. Global search does not always have to be the answer in websearch.

    Quintura is also one of the competitors. It is also in the first place in the top 100 alternative search engines.

    In order to compete with google you need to have something new and innovative. Ideas that are your own. I think quintura has that. And if you cannot compete with the searh giants you can always sell your solutions to other companies. (The money is where the users are, as rumours of for exampe the sale of Facebook for 1 billion dollars or Youtube for 1,5 billion, show.)

    Only time will tell who makes it or not. My money is on search engines with better visualization techniques. After all it is about finding and using the right information at the right time. And visualizing the information in a good way is a huge part of achieving that.

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