Pipl Succeeds At People Search

    May 15, 2007

There are a lot of niche search engines out there; considering how effective Google and Yahoo are, one could easily say that there are too many.  This has led me to become a bit suspicious when new ones pop up, but Pipl – a search engine for finding people – is gaining traction.

Just last week, Pipl was awarded third place in the “search” category of SEOmoz’s Web 2.0 Awards.  Rand Fishkin, Pete Cashmore, Danny Sullivan, and Vanessa Fox were among the contest’s judges and contributors, and they granted the fledgling search engine five stars for usability and another five for usefulness.

Pipl has also been mentioned on Search Engine Land.  “It searches across a wide variety of resources, and it does it reasonably quickly,” writes Phil Bradley.

All’s not well, though – Bradley later continued, “[B]ut there were a few gaps that surprised me.  No mention of social bookmarking services for example – I would expect to be able to see if people with the name I was looking for had marked things in del.icio.us or Furl for example.”

Pipl’s results page is also a problem.  The whole thing is just a little “blah” (yes, that’s the technical term for it).  Aside from being dull, the results lack organization; the two issues actually seem related, as a system of tabbed headings (or anything other than the current list-like presentation) could solve both problems at once.

Still, Pipl does its job and yields some good results.  In comparison to Google, well . . . some of the news and Web results bear the “powered by Google” logo, so the two aren’t exactly at each other’s throats.