IDEA #45 – Social Connections Search Engine

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David Cohen shared a few ideas with me. There was one in particular I thought was pretty good and thought I’d share with you:

Build a site that shows you the social connections of any person. This thing would have to crawl the web looking for microformats, blogrolls, blog posts, etc in order to automatically build a list of relationships. Each relationship would have a strength based on how often the two people refer to each other, etc. This could be used to figure out how to get to someone from a networking perspective.

Once again, I see this having characteristics similar to Google’s PageRank system — the software would look at an individual’s blog and see how many times they reference anyone (or any website), then based on that number, there would be a value assigned to someone they reference (or a website they reference). Thus, if I had 25 outbound links on my blog, and 5 of them were to TechCrunch — then I’d have a very strong relationship (admiration/love or possibly mutual) with it; if TechCrunch linked back to me quite a bit based on the rest of their website links, we’d be able to tell whether it was a mutual relationship/friendship.

There could then be a website that offers up a personalized “news” webpage based on a specific website — it would display posts, recent bookmarks, etc, from the assumed friends/relationships that a website has with other websites. Thus, if you visited this proposed page for Techquila Shots, you may see recent TechCrunch posts, NetNagel posts, my recent del.icio.us bookmarks, recent bookmarks from others I’ve previously linked to, etc.

“Social Search” (or “personalized search”) is the next big thing in Search — I consider del.icio.us and some others to already be social search engines, but there’ll be one that’ll become huge enough and challenge Google. Could this be it? Likely not, but feel free to chime in with any comments or other ideas you have to extend this idea.

Hint: If you are an engineer with a background in search, this might be an idea to pitch to TechStars, considering David Cohen (one of the guys behind TechStars) is the one that shared this idea 🙂