Spock: Can personal search turn scary?

ImageSpock is a clever people search engine - think Google meets Myspace meets LinkedIn, soon to meet Digg!

Spock allows you to search for a person. Results are provided in the form of a short bio, combined with tags which cross reference the search against other people whose profiles contain the same tags. As far as bios go, any info published on the web is fair game - Spock will pull in data on the person searched, from a number of web sources, including Wikipedia. The most popular, or likely candidate with the searched name rises to the top of the search.

So here is a search on Bill Gates:

Spock search engine search for Bill Gates

 

 

 

 

If you click on the tag “geek ceo”, you get a list of others in that category such as Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt. Visitors who are signed up on the site can suggest tags and relationships such as between Bill Gates and Steve Balmer (friends, co-workers). When you click on a company tag, it pulls up other people at the same company whose profiles are on Spock.

When you sign up on the Spock site (as the site explains, registering yourself is a good way to control your profile, although it is not clear how much or what kind of control a person can have on their profiles), you get an opportunity to determine which of several social sites such as Myspace or LinkedIn, you want your profile uploaded from. Once you log on, Spock finds all your profiles and bios posted on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

The Spock site does an excellent job of meshing together people and relationships . When you do a search for a person, you can add relationships between them and other people that you know of - these can be well known people, not necessarily folks on your friends list. Which brings up the question - what if someone adds information and connections that are either not true or potentially damaging? I imagine Spock will need to add in some lengthy procedures for verification, in case of a dispute.

Recently, Phil Ressler of Clearstone Ventures spoke about Spock at a LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association) meeting. He mentioned (warned) that personal search was here to stay with Spock, like it or not, people will get listed on the search engine - they claim to have indexed 1 million people already. Clearstone Ventures funded the Spock search engine to the tune of $7 million , along with Opus Capital partners.

I don’t see there being a huge privacy issue with Spock. Sure, some folks might not like to see unflattering references, but the information is culled by crawling the web, so it is out there for anyone to see, anyway. Sites such as Zabasearch are more of a threat, as they make it very easy to get personal information such as phone numbers and addresses, online. Spock does not show “personally identifiable information” such as email addresses or social security numbers.

Soon, people will be able to vote, Digg like, on Spock. They can give thumbs up or downs on references or relationships amongst people. Not sure how many will like that.

I hope that Spock will add a time component to the profiles so it is easy to see where people have worked in the past.

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2 Responses to “Spock: Can personal search turn scary?”

  1. By Maia on Aug 30, 2021 | Reply

    Hi Toni,

    This is Maia, from Spock. Thanks for the write-up! I just wanted to clarify a couple things. First of all, we’ve indexed over 100 million profiles, and are adding more everyday. We crawl publicly available site for information organized around people.

    Spock users can already vote on all of the information in a profile, including tags, relationships, websites, and names. In the case of factually inaccurate or offensive information, users can flag it so that it will be reviewed by our editorial QA team.

    I’m glad you like Spock. If you have any questions, or ideas to make it better, just let me know.

    Thanks!

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