Aug 9, 2007

[Web] Spock is Now in Public Beta

rOckY on Spock

Personal search engine Spock has gone into open beta this week so general sign-ups are now possible. I wanted to get in before but didn't make it to the closed beta testing phase. Darn.

The premise behind Spock is that it's a search engine more geared towards finding people and not just individual pages related to that person. It's ambitious given what they're trying to do - part search engine, part social network and part privacy issue.

I like the concept of trying to link together all pages, web services, email addresses, phone numbers, etc about a person in one place. Putting people at the search philosophy is certainly a great idea. Of course the challenge is how to manage that information well, how to associate the right details to the right person and of course how to protect that information from being used abusively.

I created a profile for two reasons - (1) to test the service out and (2) to see what information I could control about myself. The pages are loading really slow right now, I assume because of the sheer volume of new users testing the service out. The options seem simple enough - you can add tags to describe yourself more, link people to you, associate web pages you have profiles on and of course add personal details like your birthday, your email addresses, your phone numbers, etc.

The index is pretty small for now (still in the millions) but there are a surprising number of people already there - probably more because of their adopting the databases of social networks already out there. However they are actively trying to grow it over time and this is what gets some people nervous how the site's spiders are trawling the web for personal information and making it available in one place.

It's too early to give a final verdict on the site for now, but it does seem promising and scary at the same time.

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