I was searching for an old friend on internet when I came across an interesting site-Pipl. Pipl is a specialized search engine for searching people and the results are quite impressive.
Pipl displays not only links to all of your profiles on social networks, but also blog mentions, publications, photos on Flickr, Picasa etc. It also looks for your name in public records, including property records, and birth databases, and mentions “quick facts” about the person-which are snippets from webpages. A quick search for my name gave one of the quick facts “Anshul Dixit is a part time blogger and a full time software engineer”, which is part of my bio in Devils Workshop.
What makes Pipl different is the fact that it is capable of searching deep web also, something which regular search engines like Google and Yahoo can’t do.
What is Deep Web?
Deep web, also known as “invisible web” refers to a vast amount of data present in online databases that normal search engines like Google can’t reach. It is estimated that the amount of such data in deep web is 500 times that in the “surface web”.
The reason why regular search engines are not able to crawl in deep web is because the data is stored in databases and not on static web pages. Search engines work on the principle of indexing, that is, they crawl the web by following links found in other pages. But since the information in deep web is stored in database, these search engines can’t index it.
How can Pipl help you?
Websites like Flickr, Myspace, Hoovers, Hi5, Friendster, Facebook etc. store personal profile and people related documents in database and not on web pages. So if you were not able to find your lost friend or relative through Google, try Pipl.
Pipl provides four easy ways to look for a contact- Name, e-mail, Username or Phone. Using any of these information you can search for a person. Searching someone through phone number is possible only in US and Canada.
I searched my name in Pipl and this is the result I obtained:
As you can see, the results are categorized according to personal profiles, blogs, websites, publications, and so on.
Some of the uses of Pipl that I can think of are:
1) Searching old friends and relatives.
2) Finding more information about a new acquaintance. With “quick facts” about the person, you can get a rough idea about him.
3) Can be used by companies to get information about a prospective employee. Gives you one more reason why you should be careful before posting anything on internet.
Considering that it is still in beta phase, you can expect some improvements in near future but you might want to check up 5 best search engines for students.
So how are you going to use Pipl?