Buddyfetch. Interesting new search engine which trawls social networking, IM and community sites to locate people who share the same tastes as you do. The idea is you can find friends from amongst the zillions of community users by entering your favourite hobbies and suchlike and the system will match you up instantly.
The site covers just about every community out there, from the obvious ones like Facebook and Bebo to more obscure offerings such as Blurty and Vox. It even covers Skype, Youtube and Stumbleupon, which is what I call reaching out.
The interface is Google simple, so it’s easy to drag up a bunch of prospective friends fast, although once you’ve got the results list it’s up to you to initiate a contact with the person who shares your tastes by visiting their original profile page. You can limit the results to country, sex, age, language and even city if you’re particularly fussy. What you receive in return is a list of people with the same keywords (e.g. gadgets, music, parties etc) along with their network screen name and a direct link through to their profile.
On the face of it this is a pretty useful tool for meeting new people with shared tastes, but there’s clearly a risk of abuse from being able to locate people from so many networks in one place. The plus side is the opportunity to find a soul mate, the downside is the risk of being tracked by someone you really don’t want on your case. Of course that’s the risk anyone takes by joining an online community, so there’s nothing really new, it’s just that this seems like such an efficient way of grabbing a lot of info in one place – we’re talking over 53 million profiles so far and counting – that it’s just a little scary. Know what I mean?
Anyway the concept is definitely innovative enough, so it’s going to be worth tracking developments over time to see where this one goes. Obviously online dating is the most obvious route, but who knows, it may actually deliver value in other areas as well. One to watch!
BuddyFetch was created because there was no central directory that allowed searches for IM/Social Networking/Dating users across multiple providers, In conjunction with the fact that some directories would only allow you to search for screen names of IM users that were presently online. BuddyFetch also had vision to improve the quality of searches from the directories.