He considers existing social networks even less of a direct competitor. In fact, he points out that Spock's growing links to sites like LinkedIn and MySpace can only be mutually beneficial to everybody. Spock has no current plants to implement similar services because, if it did, "all of a sudden we'd be competing with the people we're collaborating with, and that's not a good thing for Spock."
Besides, Bhatti adds, social network sites are relatively unprofitable. However, he declined to talk about how Spock might be monetized, except to mention that it would sell contextual ads and that other sources of income would emerge from the company's intellectual property.
As for Google, Bhatti sees little overlap. "Google does a really good job or organizing searches around web documents," he explains. "However, at Spock, we organize information around people, and that requires a totally different skill set. When Google looks at a web page, it doesn't care what the document is about. All it cares about is whether the document has the relevant keyword that you've searched for. When Spock builds up a search, it has to care about whether it's about a person, and, if it is a person, what's relevant, and what are all the keywords about that person. So the technology and the algorithms for what we do are totally different from Google's. Our user interface is integrated to show results around people, and nothing else. So that's going to give us a very unique perspective."
In many ways, Spock is a mash-up in the best tradition of Web 2.0, taking ideas from other sites and recombining them in the hopes of making something new. Whether that something will become as popular as its founders hope will become obvious after Spock makes its official launch in mid-July.