Spock Shines Despite Limited Reach

    June 26, 2007

The reviews are rolling in, and they’re largely positive; Spock, it seems, is good.  But the reviews also suggest that this people search engine needs to find a more effective means of gathering information.

Alex Iskold, Tony Hung, and Frank Gruber made their way into Spock’s invitation-only testing, and have come back with high opinions of the search engine.  It’s “Vertical Search Done Right,” according to Iskold – check out his article for several intriguing screenshots.

But because Spock is so good, our attention is drawn to its weak spots.  (Think, if you will, of a new car – just one door ding or paint chip would kill me every time I saw it.  On a 15-year old junker, that ding would be rather less important than the missing side view mirror and mismatched hubcaps.)

“The main problem is that Spock is likely to have much more complete information about celebrities and well known people than about ordinary people,” Iskold writes.  “The reason for it is the amount of data.  More people are going to be tagging and voting on the president of the United States than on ordinary people.”

Hung echoed that statement, adding, “Sure, Spock.com could bank on the fact that social networking usage will rise to a high enough level that it self-populates its own database past the tipping point – but is that a viable strategy?”

And as for Gruber, well . . .  It’s hard to say whether it’s his fault or Spock’s, but apparently several of Gruber’s friends got Spock invites that he didn’t mean to send.  An example of great public relations work came as a result of this problem, however, when “The Spock Team” responded to Gruber’s post, gave several possible reasons for the unwanted emails, and signed off with an apology and a promise to fix the issue.

All in all, Spock’s shaping up nicely, and when it comes out of that private beta mode, we’ll be sure to let you know.