The people-centered Web gains a new player as Spock officially opens its door with a public beta. It joins Wink and ZoomInfo in parsing the universe of people. Like the greening of the planet, people search engines, social networks and dating services are fleshing out the people-centered Internet.
I wrote about Spock in May, describing one of Spock's unique features, combining machine and human input.
Spock adds associated tags, such as other attributes linked to the entity North Carolina lawyer John Edwards, and can also include metadata, such as age and gender, gathered from various sources. The human input comes in the form of adding new tags and voting (yes or no) on the validity of existing data, such as photos, Web sources and tags.
Spock creates snapshots of individuals via crawling public sources and then presenting biographical summary, pictures, and related content found from publicly available sources. Currently the site is a bit slow and needs tuning up--hence "beta." For example, in a search for John Edwards, the U.S. presidential candidate was the seventh item on the page. I expected the Spock engine to place him at the top of the page. I am the lead item in a search Dan Farber, which yielded nine results--I guess it pays to be a blogger.
Nonetheless, Spock has the potential to become a leading destination or service, if it allows its data to integrate with Facebook, Powerset and others, for people search.