This morning Facebook announced that is opening up its people search feature to the public. Essentially, this means anyone — without having a Facebook account — will be able to go to Facebook’s homepage and search for a person’s name.
While Facebook’s search feature has always been closed to the extent that it only reveals a person’s name and photo until you are befriended by them, this is a fairly large step for Facebook. This will, along with bringing Facebook into the people search space, open it to search engines themselves — your name and photo being a step closer to a stranger.
Fortunately, it seems that the folks at Facebook have learnt a lot about bringing out new changes from previous experiences, and allow you to control your public search listing as well as turn it off from the Search Privacy page.
Facebook is one of the biggest social networks in the U.S. and Canada, so using it as a people search tool won’t be a bad option to many. Of course, they’ll still have to knock the door before being let in to see anyone’s contact information of any kind, but I can imagine the feature will come in immensely useful in finding old class mates and long lost friends.
If you’re simply looking to stalk, however, you may have better luck with PeekYou, Rapleaf, Yo’ Name and Spock. And if all that doesn’t work, a good old “e-nvestator” would be sure to put the icing on the cake. Or, phone number on the name. 😉