October 31, 2007

Spokeo Upgrades RSS and Friend Tracker, Invites Available

Spokeo, the social networks and RSS feed aggregator who I first covered in September, is continuing to expand its product, with the goal of becoming a one-stop destination to get all updates from your friends in multiple social networks, rather than visiting each of them one by one. Like Friendfeed (covered here), Spokeo is looking to transcend the diversity of vertical social networks and provide users with one destination to not only get alerted to the latest news, but see exactly what friends are doing.

Tonight, as mentioned on the company's blog, Spokeo enhanced its services to better find friends' hidden MySpace pages or Flickr accounts, effectively helping you to sleuth out their content, rather than waiting for it to come to you.

While that was the banner headline of the announcement, I can already see some more under the hood changes. The site's main feed, where I have a few hundred RSS subscriptions, now shows more than just the headline, but often excerpts of a paragraph or so (like Google Reader's expanded view).

The site also added a tweak so that instead of viewing your feeds at www.spokeo.com, you're now redirected to www.spokeo.com/user - not to be confused with your user name or real name. Just "user", which obviously means an engineer chose that directory and not the Marketing team. Engineers always call users users... and it takes marketing to recognize we're actually people. (For example: My Friendfeed URL is http://friendfeed.com/louisgray -- a real name!)

Existing Spokeo users also can now invite up to five friends to the service. The whole idea of a limited beta is to drive up demand and show scarcity. After all, it worked so well for Google with GMail, didn't it?

If you want a Spokeo account, either leave a comment with your e-mail address, or send me an e-mail directly, and I'll be happy to invite you. While Spokeo doesn't yet have all the features of Google Reader, I have seen many cases where I get the RSS feeds fetched more quickly on Spokeo than from Google. More on that later.