Friday, October 26, 2007

The Logic of Spock - The Search For Darren Rowse

Several days ago I came across a new, online since April, niche search engine. Spock is a people search application. You can search for family, friends, celebrities, really just about anyone. Spock combines two very powerful forces. First, it organizes web content about people into easily understood search results. Information is gleaned from bio pages, social networks, news sites, blogs, directories ...pretty much every place imaginable on the Internet. Second, the Spock community contributes information to help enhance the search experience. Members can add tags, pictures, and web links or simply vote on existing information to increase its relevance. Anyone can join to help make search better for everyone. This is not a social network. They are not trying to be a social network. Spock is a people search application - once you find who you are looking for, go ahead and click through to see where they are on the web. The way it appears to me and a good way for you to picture how it works is to compare it with Technorati only with people. The setup, to me at least, is very similar only you are searching for a person or information on that person instead of a blog or blog article.

Now one thing that I really like about the search engine is that, like Technorati, you can claim your search result. The best way to do this is to register and then log in to your account. You can claim results by entering in additional email addresses you have, social networking accounts, etc.. When you do a search the results are linked to external sources such as social networks and email addresses. By entering your information you claim these results, which will give you maximum control over your Spock identity. Once your account is setup you can then change and edit what is shown for your results, including contact information. You really can shape what information people see. Plus, when there is new information about you on the Internet they send an alert so you are always up to date. To me this is crucial as at first I really had an issue with privacy.

I registered with Spock and then did a couple of searches to get a feel for how it worked. Then decided to see what would come up when searching for prominent bloggers such as Darren Rowse. I decided to feature him to show you a bit more how exactly the search engine works. I typed in Darren Rowse hit search, and was given a list of results. Now a really cool feature is that you can generate a widget for the results. Here is the widget for my search of Darren Rowse. The url for the search results is http://www.spock.com/q/darren-rowse. For some reason though the results aren't showing up until you hit the more results link.


To give you another quick example here is the widget for when I searched for my name. I think this might be a bit of a better example of how the widget works. None of these are me, but was pretty cool to see how many Johnathan Longs there are floating around.



Now not only can you create a widget of the broad search results you can also create a widget for single entries. After searching for Darren Rowse, and browsing through the list of results I clicked on the first one to see the information for that result. Once you do that you can create a widget for that single entry. Here is the single entry widget on Darren Rowse.


Now you can also search for characteristics such as vegetarian, blue eyes, or blonde hair, or a combination such as short fat ugly. I did several combinations similar and was somewhat amused by the results. Although I don't know that the people that came up after I searched for some things would be too thrilled.

Head on over to Spock.com and check out the search engine. Type in your own name and see what comes up. Did you find yourself? Register and then log in and begin the process of shaping the information that will be seen when you are searched for. Do you think there are any privacy issues raised by a free search engine like this?


later all and have a profitable and productive blogging day

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