Spinn3r, Facebook, Google, People Search, and Crawling Profiles.

The news out today is that Facebook will open up their profiles for use with Google and other search engines:

One of the great features of Facebook was privacy. You could be assured that what was in Facebook remained in Facebook. However, that illusion might be ending soon.

Tonight, Facebook launches a “public listing search” which allows anyone to search for a specific person. The company says that the information being revealed through these listings is minimal and much less than the information available to someone logged into the Facebook network.

Unfortunately, this is “at most” the name, picture, and of course profile URL. I think they should go one step farther and include additional metadata including profile description.

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I think we’re probably going to take Facebook up on the offer and crawl profiles with Spinn3r. Some of our customers would almost certainly be able to use the data.

Of course this complicates the people search space similar to how Google complicated the blog search space:

If you thought the news feed was a threat to your privacy, be warned: Facebook is announcing Public Search Listings today, meaning profiles will be searchable through Facebook, and soon turn up on Google, Yahoo and MSN Search.

As of tomorrow, search will be available through Facebook; users will then have one month to change their privacy settings before profiles get indexed by the major search engines. These results will include, at most, your name and profile picture.



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