Wink has aggregated 250 million people profiles and is creating a kind of Wikipedia of people. Unlike Wikipedia, the new version of the people search engine, currently in beta, gives individual users control over the content of the search result for their name. "You can control your profile and verify profile places (such as a Facebook or LinkedIn), asserting control over the profile. You can edit it, add or remove links, photos, feeds or other information," said Wink CEO Michael Tanne.
Profile can be claimed by MicroID or through email verification. Wink also allows others to edit a person's profile, but only if those profiles have been claimed and permission is granted.
"People have to know about Wink and their profile and be given a chance to change the settings. If you want to edit the profile of someone you know, you should invite them to claim it first. Then if they don't limit edits, you can make contributions to their profile, and they'll receive a note that their profile's been edited. That way people's profiles aren't edited by the community without them knowing," said Tanne.
“Allowing others to edit your profile is a risk, but people are more motivated to correct information more than to make up information," Tanne told me.
Wink also lets users subscribe to the feeds--such as Twitter, Flickr, Amazon Wish Lists and blogs posts--of friends who have claimed their profiles. This is similar to FriendFeed, Plaxo and other applications that allow user to aggregate and share their feeds.
In addition, a Contact Me feature provides a way for people to control the way they want to be contacted. For example, Wink profile owners can select to keep their contact information private or to allow access via leaving a message at Wink or via IM, Skype, email, phone or a social network of choice.
Besides working with various social networks to aggregate profiles data, Wink has integrated more than 35 million profiles from ZoomInfo, a business information search engine that indexes people and companies. Wink is seeding its profile database with celebrities, using data from sources such as Wikipedia and the movie site, IMDB. The company is also supporting the OpenSocial API, which will allow people to more easily access their profiles and social graphs on different social networks.
Wink, along with competitor Spock and partner ZoomInfo, are proving that their is more to search than Google. And, giving users control over the personal information aggregated by Wink is good way to ensure a level of integrity, although a certain percentage of people will inflate themselves and enter false information.
See also: Webware