Shenzhen-based internet company Tencent's (0700.HK) search engine, Soso, recently launched a "People Search" social search function.
Using the new function, Soso users can input a friend's name or the real name or online alias of a celebrity into the search field to retrieve public information from the person's profile on Tencent's SNS Pengyou, including their position, company, school, city and district of residence, and hometown. From the search results page, users can also choose to send the person a quick greeting, send a longer message, or add the person as a friend.
Users can also search for people by characteristics - for example, if a user wanted to search for colleagues or people in the internet industry, he could simply search by the title "product manager," and specify "internet" as the industry.
Users can also search for "people from my school," "people from my city," or "people in my industry," among other search modifiers, to find people in their immediate area.
Soso has also added a search results analysis tool allowing users to sort their people search results by people's age, industry, sex, or location. A search for "Beijing + finance + male + people from my city," for instance, would display information about people fitting all these criteria, and would allow users to sort the results to see, for instance, how many people were in their sixties or seventies, or which provinces they came from.
As the service is still in the early stages, Soso currently limits its people search to registered Pengyou users, though Soso says it is in the process of signing agreements with other social sites, and will add search for users of other social platforms in the future.