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Simply put, PeekYou.com is a hybrid of the search engine and the phonebook. I guess you could call it the offspring of Google and the YellowPages if they ever wined-and-dined. Portrayed over a Web 2.0 canvass, PeekYou has a simple premise: it allows users to search for people. It’s as basic as it gets: users enter the name of a person, and PeekYou will return the relevant results.
When I was first taking notes on the site for this review, I noticed reading in their press release their claim of over fifty million (yes, that’s 50,000,000+) user profiles. This immediately turned me off in a gut reaction, as usually any new startup that claims such numbers is bending the truth to say the least. However, after my first search query, I believed them.
Who else better to search for with my first query then, than myself? I entered Tyler Cruz and hit Enter, wondering if I’d be found or not. Well, I was found. Oh boy, was I found. Here’s what resulted:
That’s right! 27 results for Tyler Cruz!
Okay, now we’ve all Googled our names. Admit it. I was aware that there were several other Tyler Cruz’s out there, and have Googled friend and family names as well, but I didn’t know that there were 27 of me! What makes PeekYou so much better than Google when name-searching is that you immediately get to see what the people look like and where they’re from, whereas Googling might only return the name in a result of a home soccer game.
For this purpose alone, PeekYou has already proven itself very useful. But wait, there’s more!
What makes PeekYou so amazing is the amount of information they have on people. Here’s my profile on PeekYou. First, my picture is there. It shows the keywords attached to my name to help people with advanced searches, and they’re all dead on. It has links to all of my sites, showing the favicon’s next to them as a nice little touch. It’s got my profile and link to my blog RSS feed. It shows links to various press and news about me. It shows links to my profiles on sites like Blogger, PayPerPost, SitePoint, DNForum, etc. And it has links to my social networking pages such as Digg, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Lastly, within the keywords it contains some of my Internet usernames. So, for example, people could search for: KiD[ReD] and it would return me. That is one of my online poker names. Now, if that’s not amazing I don’t know what is.
Wow. I really like this site. It’s done so well, too. It’s very fast, clean, and easy as hell to use. It will definitely give the social-networking arena a good run for it’s money, I predict.
Would the real Tyler Cruz, please stand up?
PeekYou is surprisingly powerful, offering advanced features other than searching by first or last name. As stated above, people can search by usernames or screennames. Users can also search by location or refine their searches to a certain location (Private Investigators must love this), and search by tags or keywords. So, if you really wanted, you could search for people with the last name Smith who are professors (that turned up one result, by the way). PeekYou returned 743 results for George Bush. Scary.
Users can register a free account on the site (not required to use the site) which allows them to:
- Message other members
- Track their additions/edits to PeekYou
- Create a watch list to closely follow changes to their favorite profiles
PeekYou was created by somebody who seems to know the social-networking industry well, Michael Hussey. Hussey was the founder of RateMyTeachers.com and RateMyProfessors.com, and aims for PeekYou to be “an open source directory of every individual online.”
How does it work?
I was amazed when I saw my profile on PeekYou because it was so elaborate and every bit of detail was correct. This left my curious mind wondering how this was possible. I didn’t think this was all automatic as it was simply too powerful. It turns out that PeekYou is user-contributed like a wiki works. Here’s an excerpt from their press release:
“The site allows users complete freedom to edit, add or remove information, links, photos, and tags (school, work, interests, etc.) associated with their profile or other PeekYou user’s profiles. In addition, PeekYou provides human created search engine results, reducing nonspecific and incorrect matches. Concerned with maintaining privacy, PeekYou empowers individuals with the opportunity to be “unlisted” (similar to the White Pages) as well as edit their profiles to ensure correct and accurate information.”
Still in Beta
It’s important to note that the site is still classified as being in beta, and as such there are a few small issues with the site. First, PeekYou seems to link more to people who have more of an online presence. I was able to search for pretty much any online entrepreneur friend or blogger, but had a lot harder time trying to find real-life friends or family. This makes sense, and the number of profiles being added to the site grows each day, so I’m sure that this will improve in the future.
The only other issue I could find with the site is that their ‘Refine Your Search’ area on the left side of search result pages, is quite buggy, often not working at all. But since it’s still in Beta I’m not all that concerned.
While it’s not perfect and can’t find everybody just yet, PeekYou is an up-and-coming site that will definitely make a name for itself in the social networking scene.
As long as they continue to improve the site, add new features, and add new profiles, they’ll stand a good chance at getting an offer from Google 🙂