The Internet is full of friends. It’s such a friendly space that you end up with way too many friends, on a multitude of different social platforms. We all publish, post, share, twit, upload, comment, rate, review, and so on, so what’s the point of having thousands of friends if I can’t follow up on their activities?
Last week I drove down to the Google Park in Mountain View with my fellow cameraman (Paul) to video interview Harrison Tang of Spokeo. Spokeo is a friend reader. By submitting your list of email contacts, Spokeo spots your friends across 30 other social platforms. Just like a regular reader, just crawl through your friends’ feeds to know what they are up to lately. There are 6 people operating the startup. It was founded in late 2005, and was one of the pioneer of the Social Graph.
There’s a lot of buzz those days around a similar service, Friendfeed. What’s the key difference here? Friendfeed is playing the abyssal game of social networks (yasn to create a network of networks). Spokeo is playing the OpenSocial game. Spokeo gathers valuable social data,and it’s not just to tell you that Scoble uploaded a new Qik video from his phone (although it does that too). The point is to participate to social platforms interoperability in which Spokeo is the social graphs provider.
This is a smart focus, but the fact that there isn’t any social interactions on Spokeo makes the experience quickly uninteresting. It’s still fun to check it out once in a while, because despite you know the people in your reader (technically), you’ll always stumble upon the unexpected.