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Turning E-Mail into a Social Network

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the your-dog-wants-a-social-network-too dept.

Social Networks 94

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Saul Hansell at the NY Times has an interesting article on his technology blog about his conversations with executives at Yahoo and Google about how they plan to turn their e-mail systems and personalized home page services into social networks. Web-based e-mail systems already contain much of what Facebook calls the social graph — the connections between people. That's why social networks offer to import the e-mail address books of new users to jump-start their list of friends. Yahoo and Google realize they can use this information to build their own services that connect people to their contacts. Yahoo is working on what they call "Inbox 2.0" which will display messages more prominently from people who are more important to you, determining the strength of your relationship by how often you exchange e-mail and instant messages with him or her. "The inbox you have today is based on what people send you, not what you want to see," says Brad Garlinghouse, who runs communication and community products for Yahoo. "We can say, here are the messages from the people you care about most." There will also be some sort of profile system attached to Inbox 2.0 with a profile users show to others and a personal page where they can see information from their friends. "The exciting part is that a lot of this information already exists on our network, but it's dormant," Mr. Garlinghouse added."

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94 comments

Optimistic (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358279)

So spammers get into this, and you know they don't give a f**k how rude they are, they spoil it for everyone. Further, they've got your email address you use as a contact base and, just like it is with present email, you have to change addresses and notify everyone you moved.

My favourite social network, which I've used for decades, is USENET. I don't care about a home page to show pictures of my cat. I can easily leave a URL in my sig where people can go and see stuff if they choose and with a variety of newshosting sites I can hide my identity so people don't spam me. The downside there, is again, spammers. IIRC USENET is where spam was born.

My advice, go find a bar your friends recommend and hang out there. You might meet someone IRL.

Re:Optimistic (4, Insightful)

UltraMathMan (1139987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358635)

If the system did what the article says it will, prioritize email based on "how important someone is to you" shouldn't that work to reduce to effect of spam? Sure I'm probably overly simplifying things a bit, and yeah no technology is bulletproof, but the implication of codifying interpersonal connection and using that as a priority display basis - by quantifying your interactions with other via email - is in my mind a reduction of visible spam that makes it past other filters. Since one is unlikely to respond to spam and since spam doesn't often come from the same address, it could more easily be reduced with this method. In theory at least.

Re:Optimistic (4, Insightful)

Garridan (597129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358883)

Until your boss's boss emails you, for the first time, because there's a catastrophic emergency that only you can fix. And it goes down to the bottom of the pile, with the spam. Whoops.

Re:Optimistic (2, Funny)

enoz (1181117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358999)

The only way for your boss' boss to contact you in an emergency is via a gmail account? That's the real Whoops.

Re:Optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21359039)

I prefer a cup-string-cup system to relay important messages to me.

Re:Optimistic (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359099)

You know...if I wanted to be on a 'social network'....I'd create a crappy looking bit of html, and join one.

I'd prefer to keep my email as email....that's what I primarily use as do most people I interact with personally and professionally......

Re:Optimistic (4, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360797)

Or that chick whose number you just got at the local chemistry convention. (HA! If only...).

Seriously though, first-time contacts will go straight to the bottom regardless of importance. Other incredibly important things will end up with the spam as well such as college admission office communication. I'm applying to several colleges. They have emailed me about 3 times each "we need your transcript", "we're still waiting on that second letter of recommendation", etc. I want these emails to be top-priority.

I think the Internet has run out of shitty "social network" applications and now they're trying to re-market stuff we already have. I.E. myspace and facebook operate on the exact same principle.
-- You have a page with information about you. People who don't know you don't give a shit about it, but they never see this page because they don't know you. The people who do know you (I.E. your friends) already know this information.
-- You have a comments box (myspace) or a wall (facebook) which is a shitty version of a chat room. People post comments to you which other people can read as well, like a chat room or IRC conversation. The only differences are that A) It's slower than IRC and B) People reply to comments on different people's walls. It's like trying to have one IRC conversation across 3 different channels at the same time.
-- You have instant messages. These are instant messages that are already available through 4 different instant messaging applications. The difference is that IM apps. run in the background whereas you have to be logged into a website for the myspace/facebook chat to work.
-- You have private messages. This is a shitty form of email, which you already have because you need an email address to sign up on any "social networking" site.
-- You have all of this being used at once. You send someone a PM, they reply to it on your wall, you ask them a question through IMs, they tell you to see the email they sent you already.

A "social networking" site is just a bulky way of packaging worse versions of applications that already exist into a crappy interface that attempts to slam them all together. It doesn't streamline communication, it just spreads the conversations we already have over a shit load of different mediums. It doesn't do anything but hinder communication.

I think they've finally realized that no one over 21 is buying into this crap so they decided to simply take something that everyone uses, change an algorithm that already works (Chronologically ordered. Ascending/descending) to one that hasn't been tested at all (more messages = that person is more important) and sell it back to us. I seriously have no idea how these companies stay in business.

Re:Optimistic (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21366887)

Sounds like Saul and others read my or others' slash postings about compiling e-mail contacts and other information to to this.

However, since gmail (requires, I think) shows text/context-sensitive adverts, I supposed they were onto that avenue a few years ago. Revenue stream must be good. (I'm thinking of reverting to old/classic yahoo since the "new" yahoo with the adverts pane is a pain in my ass.. it doesn't REMEMBER or is not allowed to remember to keep the hell shut. I almost NEVER read the adverts, and I unceremoniously delete ANY spam, ads or the like addressed to me, without reading to see what they are about. I limit how many businesses having undefined/infinite "affiliates" JUST to avoid having to read endless streams of sales and promos pitches...)

But, one way to prevent the bottom-listing of first-time contacts is to simply add them to your list BEFORE you get their first e-mail. Then, a descriptor in the client app should allow the user to selectively specify priority.

Think of it this way: you regularly converse with (via many modes) someone you really don't care about, but maybe like or want to challenge or keep tabs on WHAT they say or think aloud. You don't want to lose track, so you bump them up in priority.

Alternatively, to not have new contacts bottom-listed, have the new contact e-mail you RIGHT AWAY (assuming you both have feature-rich clients and can use them on cell or wireless PDA devices...) then flag and prioritize them. Much like swapping numbers in a club, having one call the other to ensure their number is not fake to diss you later. At that point, you put "0 000 - New person's name" in the contact field so they're at the top of your list.

However, this prioritizing can just become plain messy when contacts are numerous or put into various exclusive groups. It's not always the case that someone close to you should get a certain message that other friends would be just fine with. Granted, group lists are just groupings and it's a matter of YOU/the user picking the right list.

To deal with that, use the metaphor of military messaging: Rather than classification level and message priority, use content type (humor, lewd humor, blah blah blah) and then assign friends to THOSE types, and maybe sub-assign them for granularity.

Now, in that case, it's not all that different from some existing e-mail clients, anyway.

Damn, there was something else I wanted to write earlier but cannot recall...

Re:Optimistic (1)

Mana Mana (16072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371993)

i have to say, you're fucking brilliant. hit the nail on the head. gad, you're like thomas i friedman or somethin' ^_^

Re:Optimistic (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21395051)

What's powering most Web 2.0 companies isn't technology: it's psychology. How people perceive your web site, and the minute differences in using it compared to the competitors.

No, seriously. Name any recent web company and the innovation wasn't technology or business model, but psychology and marketing.

Take blogs. A blog is really a forum with the first post being made prominent. And a forum is Usenet, which are BBS systems, which are... Or you could look at it as blogs being narrowed personal web pages, e.g. Angelfire and GeoCities from back in the day.

So even though they're the same as what came before it, they boomed and busted.

Re:Optimistic (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21362003)

Until your best friend emails you from his other account and goes to the lowest priority part of the inbox

Until your new customer emails you for the first time and you don't see it....

Re:Optimistic (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358785)

>My advice, go find a bar your friends recommend and hang out there. You might meet someone IRL.

So, basically your advice boils down to... "don't use social networking sites".

We in the 21st century would like to thank you for that insightful and informative tip, Mr Luddite. :-p

Re:Optimistic (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21359143)

Exactly. All social interaction now occurs on the internet. Get with it. Bars are dying and within months will no longer exist. Social networking sites are now your only option for social interaction. And don't worry about meeting anyone IRL. "Friends" no longer exist, ever since the term was vitiated by social networking sites, where everyone has 800 "friends" that they will never see or talk to IRL. Nevermind that, social networking sites exist to bring people together! Not to make some people very rich. We could start calling them $ocial networking $ites, but since that's substitution of "$" for "S" in a non-Microsoft-bashing context, I guess it'll never catch on.

Social networking sites can kiss my a**; I'll keep my friends in real life, thanks. See my MySpace or Facebook profiles for more about this.

Re:Optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21359329)

Nice strawman you got there buddy. I'm sorry that you are unable to figure out how to take the relationships which you initiate through livejournal, etc to the next level of face-to-face interaction -but trust me that hundreds of us have no such problem. I would be happy to give you a number of examples and even some pointers that you could use for yourself -but I can tell that you prefer to spend your nights bitterly raging pointlessly against the world before crying yourself to sleep.

Re:Optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21361363)

Uh... you mispelled a**... it should have been a$$.

Re:Optimistic (1)

defile39 (592628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21363209)

But see the beauty of a site where the only "friends" you have are the ones you actually converse with. If you cannot "add" a friend, other than by having regular and meaningful email conversation, people won't be friend counter whores like some tend to be on sites like myspace and facebook. Though I'm still in school (I've been a degree collector), my college years were just before the social networking scene took off, so I haven't had much interest in the myspace/facebook brand of social networking. I DO, however, like to keep in touch with people I ACTUALLY care about. It would be brilliant for google (I use gmail) to establish a "personal page" type of environment where people in MY ALREADY EXISTING network can, well, do their thing. This, and, frankly, I absolutely can't STAND the HORRIFIC design of most myspace pages. How many goddamn flashing graphics does one person need?!?!?!

Re:Optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21358943)

Grouchy old guy doesn't "get" hot new technology. Film at 11.

Re:Optimistic (2)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359941)

Its funny you should mention usenet, because I always found reading posts though a nice news client much more enjoyable that reading posts on a online web based forum.

Similarly I find Facebooks internal inbox system to be a poor substitute for email, but unfortunately several of my friends contact me that way.

So rather than Google adding social pages to gmail, how about facebook giving us POP access to its inbox and RSS access to our friends feed.

Re:Optimistic (2, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360407)

My favourite social network, which I've used for decades, is USENET.

My thought exactly, but it's worth pointing out that mailing lists can be as useful and fun. I'm not surprised that any of the large email providers are looking to make more money wherever there's money to be made. What I am surprised and dismayed with is that so many people live in their browsers and set themselves up to be easy prey for this. It reminds of broadcast television. There might be a few good shows here and there, but the price is a loss of control and being required to swallow the advertising that's thrown at you at every turn. But that's exactly what people are willing and eager to do. And keep doing!

To use a cell phone analogy, I want email to be email and I don't want it to try and become or do anything else. If you can't get the features you need by doing it yourself (non-trivial, but hardly difficult), there's lots of better options (fastmail.fm, to cite just one example) that would allow most anyone to move away from likes of Yahoo and Gmail, or such slums like Hotmail.

Pessimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21361417)

Not sure the bar has opened yet but I will surely throw this fuckin computer out trough the window before I virtualize myself as to be a dot on a graph !

Except that (5, Interesting)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358327)

People sign up for social networks to be in a social network and they sign up for E-mail to get E-mail. I would much like to keep the frilly "crap" separate from my day-to-day email.

When Hotmail started throwing for-pay spam to my inbox and cluttered many of their pages with ads, I made a switch to Gmail. If Gmail throws a round of unnecessary social networking (especially without me opting-in) It may just be time to move along again.

Re:Except that (1)

AlexKiddo (1188951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358403)

I've had Gmail since it's early days, I'm with you on hoping they don't follow this. But, it seems to be the trend here lately with everyone.

Except Facebook is used for email (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358827)

I'm looking forward to a GFaceMail world, just so I don't have a social network constantly emailing me just to log in and read the equivalent of email that was posted there. Avoiding this simple usability headache is worth it alone.

Re:Except that (0)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359011)

Given that you have to select 'older version' every time you log in to get rid of that stupid Jabber interface and the equally obnoxious 'informational' popup that shows whenever you mouse over an e-mail address on Gmail these days, it looks like we're going to get these 'features' shoved on us, whether we want them or not.

This is what frustrates me the most about all of this '2.0' garbage-- it's velcro for cruft. I just want my e-mail sorted by date. That's all. I don't even fucking use threading, let alone want messages from getbigc0ckn0w showing up in twelve point script-- you know that the spammers will figure out how to spoof 'urgent' flags or popularity ratings.

Re:Except that (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359029)

When Hotmail started throwing for-pay spam to my inbox

Seriously? I always knew Hotmail was ghetto but if that's true, that really takes the cake.

Re:Except that (0)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359101)

I agree that UI clutter is a bad idea but I think that taking advantage of social information to make email work better is a good idea. Hopefully, Google will do this as intelligently as they do most things (unlike Microsoft) and not screw up our email experience.

I already love the integration of IM and email and the presence information is often useful.

I can see an option to sort incoming email by how frequently you've sent messages to that person as being very useful. Without totally hiding away the new message from the monthly newsletter I'm subscribed to the messages from my friends and family would pop to the top of the list where I'll see them right away.

I'm sure there are other useful features that could be integrated directly into email and many more than could be a sepperate social networking app.

Re:Except that (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359913)

I can see an option to sort incoming email by how frequently you've sent messages to that person as being very useful...the messages from my friends and family would pop to the top of the list where I'll see them right away.

How about a system that can sort incoming e-mail into different folders by sender, or by subject, or by any header. You know, like any decent mail client has been able to do for over a decade. I get mail from friends, Sylpheed [sraoss.jp] sorts in into my "friends" folder. I can even say "if it's from Julie and it has `poetry' in the subject, file it under `arts'".

Is Gmail so lacking in functionality that it can't do this?

Re:Except that (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360447)

If you want to manually create filters for every possibility instead of having the system figure it out for you then you must not get very much email. I get thousands of messages a day and it's a huge pain to create filters for every possibility. I much perfer to let my email client do some figuring stuff out for me along with being able to create my own filters. What if your needs change from moment to moment and you need the messages filtered differently?

For instance, if I receive ten messages a day from a certain email address why not have the email program identify a need to offer a virtual folder of mail from this email address? If it's emails showing signs of coming from a known mailing list software, or mailing list, then why not clump it's virtual folder under a folder just for mailing lists? While you're at it why not offer easy controls for working with the mailing list software such as unsubscribing, switching to digest mode, request a CVS account, etc.

While they're at it, why not do things like live previews of incoming message attachments? Maybe a sidebar or maybe just a short listing at the top of the message list similar to found images in Google search?

Why not let our software work for us so that we can work on stuff that is actually useful? I've used a lot of email programs over the years and so far all of them have been inferior to the one I wrote for myself. I applaud Google for trying to go beyond the 1985 limitations of email thought.

There is not a single email client available to the public that makes managing mass amounts of email really effecient. You spend more time dealing with the software than communicating. If the software didn't suck then spam wouldn't be an issue. It's only an issue because email clients aren't intelligent enough to know what is relevant to your current needs and what isn't.

Re:Except that (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21363803)

If you want to manually create filters for every possibility instead of having the system figure it out for you then you must not get very much email.

I get lots of e-mail, but there's only about two score ways to group it: friends, work, mail from political groups, various mailing lists, and so on.

For instance, if I receive ten messages a day from a certain email address why not have the email program identify a need to offer a virtual folder of mail from this email address?

Because that may not be appropriate. It may be more appropriate to put it in the same folder with another recipient or group of recipients. I don't want mail from my boss to go into its own folder, I want it in the "work" folder along with other cow-orkers. I'd get really annoyed if my mail software wouldn't let me do this.

Why not let our software work for us so that we can work on stuff that is actually useful?

I do want my software to work for me. That means doing what I tell it to do, not trying to be overly clever and thinking it can come up with better rules than I can. I have a more information about the people I communicate with than is possiblely available to software. You can't determine human relationships merely by e-mail traffic analysis.

This is not to say I would mind an optional tool that made suggestions about filtering rules. That might save me some time - but I could also see it being another Clippy [wikipedia.org] : "I see AnnoyingPerson@aol.com has sent you a lot of mail! Want to add them to your friends list? No? I'll ask again later!"

I've used a lot of email programs over the years and so far all of them have been inferior to the one I wrote for myself.

Is this available somewhere?

Re:Except that (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21385627)

Mail programs need to be reactive. This is easier thanks to the virtual folder concept where mail can be in more than one place at a time. For example your bosses email might show up in just your work folder (assuming everyone uses the same domain or other obvious clumping hint) unless he suddenly sent 10 messages in a short period whereas it'd also show up in his own folder and maybe that folder would rise to the top of your list because the email program would recognize that all the messages are from a single person and not a group of people. Maybe the shit has hit the fan (such as a key server going down) and he's trying to get ahold of you desperately. Obviously the program should be able to see that a given clumping is not being useful to you, either because you never make read or respond to mail in that clump or type of clump. Also the program should let you manually mark clumps as useful or not so you can tell it what to do rather than it guessing. You can sort mail yourself manually or with filters to - auto-filtering is just an extra feature that can help you.

I don't quite agree that a program can't figure these things out for you. Usage patterns can tell a lot about how future messages will be used. Of course you always want to be able to tell the program it's wrong but why not let it help you when it can? It's no different than training a spam filter and I think most of us can agree that spam filtering is helpful even if it's imperfect and requires training.

I think it's probably more useful for the mail client to try to do the right thing and make it easy for you to undo it's decisions and for it to learn from you than to have something like Clippy. Dealing with a Clippy would be pretty annoying whereas it's not such a big deal to mark your bosses auto-filter as unneeded because he is just a crazy guy that likes to send dozens of email forwards a day - although spotting forwards and counting them as less worthy of spawning this filter is pretty easy to do anyway so the rule would probably never be created then.

Mostly my custom mail client is good for mail archiving as I haven't made a lot of effort on the interface for composing mail. GMail or Thunderbird work fine for composing - they just don't handle incoming mail very well. I've thought about making my mail client available for the public but I've never done it. Mostly because I think I don't want to offer support for such a complex program. Just handling all the different types of possible file attachments is a major issue and even after many years of development and millions of attachments tested I still sometimes find attachments done in some weird new way I've never seen before. At least my mail client doesn't lose data like Thunderbird though. It really annoys me that more than a year after advising them that folders that grow to more than 2GB in Linux lose all data that it's still an issue. That alone motivates me not to use it for handling incoming mail! GMail is a pain mostly because of it's 4GB limit per account and their limit on how fast you can pull messages our using POP. I frequently fill my accounts faster than I can empty them and end up with the account locked for 24 hours.

Let's Combine Everything! (2, Interesting)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358359)

But the real question is: is it really worth it? I mean, I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook, but even though Gmail has had a chat feature for years I've used it all of twice. When I want email, I go to the site for my email, and when I want to go on Facebook, I do that.

Sure, I understand that a lot of it is about attracting a larger user base to (they hope) make more money, but to me a unique venture would be refreshing to see.

2.0 is the new i (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358577)

It will work if it's done subtly and non intrusively, like GMails chat system but not like how this Inbox 2.0 is sounding. Still, it could work alright, current inboxes are fairly primitive repositories that could use this sort of personal touch. Either way it'll happen - it's got Buzzword 2.0 technology, how can it fail?

Re:2.0 is the new i (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21362031)

Correct. Just as the postal system replaced having to pass a note to someone yourself, so e-mail and text and IMS will all eventually go away. Once they come up with something you can send from a phone or a computer, that is safe and secure, that is (near to) universal, then i for one will sign up for it.

I think it's gonna take something new to do this, rather than sticking plasters on our existing systems.

e-mail filters? (3, Informative)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358373)

I thought I already took care of this by creating mailboxes for people or subjects that matter and filters to put messages in them. It's worked pretty well for quite a while now, and I can check the boxes in the order of how interested I think I'll be in what they have to say. With some filters I can even prioritize things, so that if person A sends me a message about topic B, the topic B filter is higher priority and stops further filtering.

I even have a social networking tool from it, because if my friends send something to several people it's usually a small number (sometimes with one or two new people) and they use regular cc instead of bcc.

IIRC, email has worked this way at least all the way back to Pine.

Privacy Concerns. (3, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358801)

I thought I already took care of this by creating mailboxes for people or subjects that matter and filters to put messages in them. It's worked pretty well for quite ...

Yes, this is a fairly standard email client tool that could use a few minor improvements without third party disclosure. Kmail makes it easy to organize your email with a right click create filter option. It's also bright enough to notice mail lists so you can organize that way too. This can be improved on by noticing how often you email those on your filter list and making those folders more prominent, but that's not important. What matters is that you know what folders have mail from what person. You already know what mail is important to you better than any algorithm can tell. Third party interest in your contacts is creep to say the least and it should be against the law for ISPs to collect and store the information.

Really free networks can help insure privacy by letting people run their own encrypted mail and messaging services. The real reason ISPs and Government have forced ISP only mail service is so they can wiretap and advertises more easily. Spam has not been defeated by blocking port 25.

keep it simple not 2.0 (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358395)

Dear Google, please do not fubar your email system my making it "web2.0" as it is currently not as broken as you seem to want it to be. I use your services because they are relatively clean, non-intrusive and most importantly not like Myspace. That is all.

Re:keep it simple not 2.0 (2, Insightful)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358751)

Not only that, but relegating a message from an old friend or business contact that I do not speak to very often to some obscure place in my in-box just because your algorithm "thinks" they are not important to me will not endear me to your system.

Re:keep it simple not 2.0 (1, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358849)

Yes. Can I also add...

Search. Google, that's the thing. You know the thing you got your name for. The thing that still is not really good enough. Really not.

FOCUS Google! That's the thing -- forget the Web 2.0 garbage, keep it simple and keep improving search. After all, the reason most Web 2.0 crap exists is because search isn't good enough to meet people's expectations.

Better search = no need for social networking sites.

Search != Social Networking (2, Interesting)

droopycom (470921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359059)

Hum... I'm not so sure what "Social Networking" is, but I'm pretty sure its not Search. I mean, I dont think people go on MySpace or Facebook to search for information... They might well find stuff while they are "networking/socializing" but then finding and searching are different things...

I often find things I was not searching for... but normally not thanks to a Search Engine. While using a Social Networking tool maybe...

I often search for thing I cant find... Search Engine can help... but even there, if it doesnt exist a search engine wont find it. (Ideally, the perfect search engine would tell you, "what you are looking for doesnt exist" instead of "No page found"... but I guess you can dream...)

Re:Search != Social Networking (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21361159)

Hum... I'm not so sure what "Social Networking" is, but I'm pretty sure its not Search. I mean, I dont think people go on MySpace or Facebook to search for information...
If you think about it a second, the rest of your post refutes that statement.

As I understand it, people tend to go to social networking sites to search for long lost friends, or be available for long lost friends to find them. That is searching. Basic Google search doesn't do that good of a job of it, but it could ...

Re:Search != Social Networking (1)

droopycom (470921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21487615)

Does: "hanging out at the mall hoping to run into some friend" qualify as "search" ? If you reply yes, then I'm sure you can equal "Social Networking" with Search. But I guess most people would answer No.

Does: "hanging out at the bar hoping to run into your next girlfriend, wife" qualify as "search"? Not very different, but a few more people might qualify this as "Searching". Some people might just think that's a lazy (loosy?) way to search. I would also assume many people go to the bar to "have fun", rather than "search".

Does: "browsing match.com hoping to find your next wife" qualify as "search"? Just a step further from the bar scene, yet I assume a lot more people would qualify this as search. Purpose makes all the difference.

As I said, I'm not clear what "Social Networking" is. But if it was search, wtf didnt they call it "Social Search"? It seems to be that the primary purpose of MySpace and such is to have some fun. Sometime having fun means meeting people and friends. But I dont think you can make many friends by "Searching" for them anyway...

Re:keep it simple not 2.0 (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21361181)

That's maybe the most profound posting I've ever read. I never thought of it that way, but you are absolutely correct.

Re:keep it simple not 2.0 (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21361727)

It's a good comment, and I'm inclined to agree, but if that's the most profound thing you've ever read, I'd recommend you get reading. There's a whole world out there!

Re:keep it simple not 2.0 (3, Funny)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359657)

You don't get it. If we can synergistically harness the power of web2.0 for a social network, we'll have an engaged, community-based killer ap combined with bleeding edge e-vision that will allow us to implement solutions and solutionalize implementations.

Re:keep it simple not 2.0 (1)

studpuppy (624228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21362285)

Amen... I can't count the number of times I've had to reset my Yahoo! email back to the "classic" version from the Beta version. When will people learn that "improved" doesn't necessarily follow "new"?

Oops. Did I just say that out loud?

Re:keep it simple not 2.0 (1)

Mana Mana (16072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372137)

``Dear Google, please do not fubar your email system my making it "web2.0"''

absolutely right. have you noticed that the new look gmail is much slower to load on slow links.

It'll never catch on... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21358399)

It'll never catch on. If there's no way to on-line stalk your ex or the gal/guy you had the crush on in High School, why would anyone use it?

When (1)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358451)

When will the internet bubble "2.0" pop? I cant freakin wait. Words like "blog" and social networking make my skin crawl.

Here's an idea.. How about they turn web based email in to email that just works?
Taking 2 or 3 times more time to read my email on gmail as it took with pine/mutt is not a step forward. Now they want to add even more crap to it.

Re:When (-1, Flamebait)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358509)

You may have a hard time understanding this, but a lot of people in the world have what is known as "friends." These friends often like to keep in touch with each other by sharing thoughts, events, and other minutia. The Internet facilitates this through these mechanisms you hate so.

Also, congratulations. The 15 seconds you save on email is much better spent in bitter contemplation of your lonely life.

Re:When (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21359341)

you really should post as AC when you make stupid comments like that otherwise the rest of us may suspect that you are indeed a moron.

Re:When (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358611)

When will the internet bubble "2.0" pop? I cant freakin wait. Words like "blog" and social networking make my skin crawl.
Looking back at the last bubble burst, it seems that another one should be due around 2009.

Here's an idea.. How about they turn web based email in to email that just works? Taking 2 or 3 times more time to read my email on gmail as it took with pine/mutt is not a step forward. Now they want to add even more crap to it.
indeed, but adding features is their way of fighting their web2.0 war and simplicity is the first casualty. Their train of thought centers on the idea that more features is better when in reality, that isn't really the case. There isn't a point in making things needlessly complicated just to out do the competition. Google should have learned this from Yahoo but they didn't, they are getting greedy.

Re:When (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358715)

Out in the real world, people like features in their software. Nice things, like human readable names and options they can see at a glance, not unholy acronyms and cryptic arguments that require a check to the man page every time you want to do something. Useful things, like being able to search through the email, and chat with their contacts without having to figure out how to make 6 small programs all talk to each other. Pretty things, like graphical indicators when something is happening.

Sure, you'll always have your bitter .02% looking to bring the computing experience back to the 70s for everybody, but you're a slim, slim minority.

Re:When (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358925)

I didn't mean for it to be so bare as to be unusable, just that email actually working like I dont know, maybe email? keep things simple as a default and let those who want extra features enable them if they want. There isn;t any need to shove them down people's throats.

Re:When (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360255)

I would love to see a system like that. Please tell me when someone creates one. So far all the attempts have failed. They use endless cascading menus which disappear if you move mouse in the wrong direction, or whatever whims of the GUI. They give useless nonsensical error messages (if they give any messages at all) which both new users and age old masters can't understand. They lock everyone out of various options, because they've decided us "lusers" can't understand it. They automatically do things which are wrong and there is no way to stop it, so you have to hope the command fails and you can find a way to make it do what you want. Yeah, 3 lines of code can replace someone who knows what he/she is doing.

What kind of joke is that?

Re:When (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21366907)

My definition of:

"blog"
Something you leave in the toilet bowl sometime after a huge, heavy meal.

Who'd'a Thunk? (2, Interesting)

mechsoph (716782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358465)

The Web and Email let you connect with other people? Amazing!

Seriously, I don't really see anything too spectacular with the walled-garden social networking sites. They do some maybe useful munging of data, and they allow for the click-and-drool usage pattern. Really though, they're nothing you couldn't already do ten years ago.

Re:Who'd'a Thunk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21358613)

I agree. It's like a couple of executives finally figured out how to filter email by address, i.e. put the email from certain people in certain folders, and thought they were the first people to figure it out. I suppose there are enough dumb people out there that will think this is all brand new technology and buy into it.

Re:Who'd'a Thunk? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21358841)

no one cares what you think moron. so shut your trap. you're an asshat.

boooooring (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21358539)

i was looking around for an article to troll but i'm just not motivated enough to seek out the open source fags so i'll troll right here.
 
fucking open source fags.
 
thanks for listening. meh.

Social Networking Lock In Misses the Point (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358721)

People that are into this social networking web site thing miss the point. Trying to say that Facebook or any other social site has some sort of a lock in is like saying the bar down the street has a lock in. People go to these places to hang out, and when it starts to suck, they outgrow, or just get bored, they go somewhere else.

Re:Social Networking Lock In Misses the Point (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359235)

Trying to say that Facebook or any other social site has some sort of a lock in is like saying the bar down the street has a lock in.

What kind of bar or street contains only data, which is only scarce if someone actually does lock it up?

Re:Social Networking Lock In Misses the Point (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359397)

What kind of bar or street contains only data, which is only scarce if someone actually does lock it up?

People will go to these sites, put in as little as possible to hang out, play roles and then move on to the next place after a few months. Ergo, any social networking facility there is ought to be client side, and built into the browser...

Re:Social Networking Lock In Misses the Point (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359915)

I agree that social networking data should be under the direct control of the user and not locked up in any single walled garden, but for now that data mostly is.

Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21358779)

it won't take off

won't even get past beta

Privacy ? (1)

garphik (996984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358853)

More intelligent it gets, the lesser privacy you have,
although it may be * automated *... it is weird to know someone reads emails and assesses relations.

Well, I guess this is good in a way. (3, Insightful)

ghjm (8918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21358949)

It means these systems will turn into walled gardens where their users only ever talk to each other, which is good for me because they're out of my hair.

Those of us who use e-mail for business probably rank the value of any given email by how *few* we get from that person (spam not included) - particularly if we work near sales. The one e-mail I got this month from Mr Big Shot Customer is vastly more important to me than the 30 from Sue down the hall nattering on about why the refrigerator isn't cleaned up yet.

-Graham

Re:Well, I guess this is good in a way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21360667)

OMG! I am so going to complain about you to HR!

- Sue

PS. I just knew it was you that left that stuff in the refrigerator.

I foist my gmail account on my worst enemies (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359231)

Actually, I'm exaggerating, but seriously: I only use my gmail account for "backup" purposes for when my main mail server is down, or as an address when registering on forums, corresponding with unknown individuals, etc. How could Google claim that their model is an accurate reflection of my "social network" without first validating how my gmail account is used?

There are a lot of assumptions that are put into play when Google and Yahoo! begin to datamine their e-mail troves , making connections that might be tenuous or temporal at best.

what they really want is... (2, Interesting)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359535)

...just a hook into your inbox to see what you trash right away and who's email you'd keep around for a while, or respond to, before trashing. Funny, Gmail and Yahoo could both do it his right now if they wanted. Why the big deal over understanding "the social network"? Its always been there right under their noses.

Interact frequently != important (2, Insightful)

meatmanek (1062562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359539)

Who says that just because you talk to someone frequently means that their message is important to you? In fact, for me it's nearly the opposite.

I don't need to reply immediately to a conversational email from a family member or friend. On the other hand, more important emails come from people you don't necessarily talk with frequently:

A professor reminding me of the upcoming paper
My boss telling me that I don't have to go to work tomorrow due to weather
The credit card company/power company/landlord telling me that I have a bill due soon

bull pucky (1)

huckda (398277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359693)

"The inbox you have today is based on what people send you, not what you want to see," says Brad Garlinghouse, who runs communication and community products for Yahoo. "We can say, here are the messages from the people you care about most."
The INBOX I have today is the same I had 6 yrs ago...and I see what I want to see, organized HOW I want to see it...
get a real email client and you get control over WHAT YOU WANT...instead of having some stupid inaccurate algorithm GUESS at it for you.

not going to get much traction... (1)

calvespa (753482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21359719)

the under thirty crowd doesn't use email, they use IM. most view email as for grandparents to circulate jokes and prof's to distribute assignments...

Re:not going to get much traction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21363741)

you mean the under 18 crowd. clearly you won't be entering into the real workforce anytime soon, so better brace yourself now.

Missing the point? (2, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360153)

Number of messages = how important somebody is to me? Please, God, let this idea crash and burn.

A lot of the people who are important to me, like my family overseas or friends I meet after work, I rarely exchange e-mails with.

On the other hand, there's this nasty little bum-kisser in the office who thinks I can be flattered into promoting him, and somebody in Russia who seems to be obsessed with the size of my penis. They e-mail me constantly.

I really and truly DO NOT need them moved up to the top of my In Box.

Re:Missing the point? (2, Interesting)

riten (1189369) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360817)

There are many ways to decide on "importance" of a person in your life through the use of your e-mail behavior. No sensible developer will base on the "Number of messages" really. That's too simplistic. Importance can be determined in many different ways:
  • The bi-directional communication strength - how frequently do you and X respond to each other's mails? (typically kills spammers)
  • The delay in your response - how quickly do you respond to the person from the time you saw the message in your inbox? (shows your eagerness)
  • The length of your responses - how much effort do you put in to the replies? (polite responses "out of courtesy" may be factored out this way)
There are, of course, different interpretations of "importance" based on context - family, work, social circle. These above factors and more (domain name of the person X) can help determine classes of importance and re-order your emails accordingly. There is ample scope for innovation. People here are arguing about privacy and over-loading of services, but others (non-Slashdotters??) might find these value-additions attractive.

Turning e-mail into a social network? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360357)

What an interesting idea to make e-mail into a social network. Maybe they could add a way to send messages to people, and see what messages you've received from others. That'd really assist being social with people. I wonder how quickly they can get this put together.

Open up! (1)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360721)

If Orkut and Yahoo Mash and other also rans want to take on Facebook there is only one way to do it. They must open up and become a virtual social network that is much bigger than Facebook. OpenSocial is not it: OpenSocial is about making life easy for apps developers: not making communication easy for end-users. A status update typed into Orkut or Yahoo or Twitter should be visible to people in all of the other services. Users should be able to invite other users to play authenticated games across network boundaries. Mr Brin and Mr. Yang. Tear down those walls!

Proposed it 2 years ago (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21360863)

Nice. I invented something like it >2 years ago and proposed it to Ogilvy Mather, the system which runs on an internal network.

Google's spam filter is good but they can still do a lot more with what they have, for example identify mailing lists and group them on the side of the page, allow reordering by date/sender etc as Yahoo does, don't let important emails scroll off the bottom of the page so fast.

I would not be a happy camper however if social network analysis (which is used to identify information gatekeepers in an organization among other things) was used to target advertising or spam, especially if information from different gmail accounts was coordinated to do so. A minimal amount of analysis within one mailbox, and subtle navigational aids for that user, fine. Beyond that it gets scary and Google could have trouble calling themselves a common carrier.

Inbox 2.0 idea patent worthy (1)

streepje (87249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21361347)

"Inbox 2.0" will display messages more prominently from people who are more important to you, determining the strength of your relationship by how often you exchange e-mail and instant messages with him or her.
Now there's a novel idea that deserves a patent immediately!

I've been doing that in the mail reader I use for oh, only about a decade now.

See http://www.gnus.org/ [gnus.org]

email (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21362721)

uhhh... Is it just me, or is email already a social-networking system?

Fuck Social Networking (1)

AlexJTanner (1012387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21368565)

For the record the only social networking that you should ever need is IRC. I don't understand this obsession people have with social networking.

software that already does this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21368571)

A buddy of mine started a company called xobni a year and a half ago to highlight these implicit relationships. Unlike google and yahoo, his software is an agent, so you own the data, and the results. That's the upside. The downside is, it's an outlook plugin (for the time being) and I have no idea how he will monetize it (it's currently free). Still.. worth a look. http://www.xobni.com/learnmore/ [xobni.com] --Ed Dench
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