123people, a service that collects information available on the Web about people from sources like Flickr, Google, and Facebook, announced that it has started operating in the United States. Previous to the announcement, 123people was only available in Europe as it was working the kinks out in its beta.
"After months of private beta, tweaking, and adding new features to improve the high-powered people search, 123people launches to the U.S. public," a company representative wrote in a blog post. "Now anyone can search for everyone they want to know."
123people, which competes with other people-finding services like Wink and Spock, features a relatively simple start page--a single search box that asks you to input a person's first and last name--but a results page that offers a slew of information that it gathers from sources across the Web.
The service gathers phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Google search results, pictures from Google images and Flickr, Facebook profiles, videos, news results, and even blogs to give the person searching a glimpse into all the information that can be collected about a particular person on the Internet. Along with the ability to find phone numbers, 123people includes a link next to each number allowing visitors to call the person using the online telephony service JaJah.
123people hopes to become a valuable resource for people trying to find individuals, but it suffers from a major drawback: finding people isn't so easy. The site will work extremely well for uncommon names, but searching for "John Smith" will yield too many results to make it useful unless the user knows who they're looking for. And chances are, if they already know the person, they probably won't find any reason to use the site.
Regardless, 123people has enjoyed some success in Europe and now that it's in the U.S., it hopes for similar results. The site is now open to all visitors and doesn't require registration.