Off late, a lot of companies have ventured out to “search for people” online. I should admit that I myself look for some information on people every now and then, but it has always been Google and nothing else.
I thought of reviewing these websites only to see if any one of these takes me away from my fav – Google!
Search for someone’s name on Whozat? and a bar at the top of the page will display the results pulled from the professional networking site LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, IMDb and others. Underneath this is a list of tags associated with that person and more general search results. Unfortunately it doesn’t try too hard to get the links right – I searched for my name and it found me on LinkedIn, but could not get me on facebook. For some other searches, it gave 10 pages on facebook and none of them were of the right person!!
Wink was much better. Just when I typed in my name and pressed Submit, immediately got the result. One good thing about Wink is that it has the provision to search for people based on their Location, which Whozat? lacks. Even the searches were more apt and the number of websites from which it queried my name was much larger!
SquidWho‘s first impression itself was bad. The site took considerable time to load. There are hardly any stuff on the homepage, so was surprised with the loading time. The wait was not worth as well. I searched for myself and all it could muster was to throw some youtube videos of Dr. Rajkumar :(. The result stitches together searches on Wikipedia, Amazon, Flickr, and other places to draw together a bunch of ‘Rajendra’ content from around the net, and offers to let me own and maintain the page so it will be better for the next visitor. No thanks, I was actually searching so I could learn.
Spock, on the other hand was very fast to load and it managed to fetch my facebook profile (yuppieee!!), and that was it, no other search results whatsoever.
Pipl‘s UI is deceptively simple. The site claims that it does some ‘deep web search’ which means it looks into some databases not accessed by Google. May be true, but none of my searches yielded proper results.
ZoomInfo is supposedly the oldest people search engine and acts as an index of professional workers. Although well established, it doesn’t have some of the exciting features found with the other sites above and its design is dated. You also need to register a credit card with the site to ‘claim’ your identity. Although free, it’s an obstacle that other sites don’t present. No need to mention, it failed to prove my online existence.
Finally I tried out, my good old friend Google!! Ahhh… my online identity and privacy was stripped naked. Right from facebook to multiply to Posterous, my existence on every damn website was exposed.
I don’t want to get into the privacy aspects of these search engines. But what I observed was, that all these so called “people search engines” have one thing in common : All of them focus on blogs, social networking sites, wiki, photo sharing sites and bookmarking sites, but doesn’t even care to look into Personal pages or newspapers. Focusing on social networking sites and blogs is just a shortcut to build the search database but a proper people search engine should be much more complete.
- Google wins hands down!!