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Eszter Hargittai has an very interesting blog post about how Google
could become THE source for social network data... for the planet!
Google had search, last year added free email[with 2GB of storage!],
and now has free chat and voice-over-internet [VoIP]... and they keep
track of all activity with those services.
According to Eszter they can now track your strong and weak ties...
> One of the great features about GMail is that it checks for new email
> regularly (several times a minute) so as long as you stay logged on,
> you can get regular email updates. Of course, as long as you stay
> logged on, Google can track all of your online activities connected to
> its services, which include searches run on its search engine. Not
> only do they have information about all of your emails, they also know
> what searches you run and what results you choose.
> Being able to scan your email (as they do for the purposes of
> displaying Google Ads) doesn’t only give them information about what
> topics you discuss, they also know with whom. They can develop very
> nice maps of people’s networks. Now that they have launched Google
> Talk they will also know which of your email contacts are strong
> enough that you also tend to contact them through chat (assuming you
> are using Google Talk for IMing). They will have more data on which to
> draw for a network map of your connections. And since the use of
> Google Talk requires a Google Account from both users, they can
> construct network maps of those people as well. So your network map is
> not just about your direct connections.
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