Orkut is clearly doing the snowball rolling to critical mass thing right now – I signed up this morning and since then everyone seems to suddenly have twice as many friends. It probably won’t do much more than Friendster, LinkedIn, Tribe etc, but it provides a slightly different way of looking at your network of friends which is interesting. Though kind of creepy. It’s affiliated with Google, and seems to use a PageRankish way of sorting your friends, emphasising those people with most other people counting them as their friends. The invitation to “share the karma, rank your friends” is faintly scary. Want an invitation so you can see what it is? Leave a comment.

update: Right, so of course, I just got my first “be my friend” from a person I don’t know. He might be great! He’d add to my FriendRank and make me more visible in the Orkut networks. But, uh, I don’t think I’ve met him or read his blog or anything. Hm. This Orkut thing is set up for defining even the vaguest connection to someone as “friendship”, even more so than the other social networking systems – the more friends, the cooler you are in the system. You show up at the top of every community you’re in if you have 300 friends. That simple. Hm.

8 thoughts on “rank your friends

  1. Alex Halavais

    Uh, oh. Hope it wasn’t me :(. Er, if so, I’m your *secret* friend. I think you are one of only two people I asked that I haven’t met FtF.

    I am willing to check out Orkut, along with the other services, but that uneasiness of quantifying friendship vs. acquaintance is what I think will mean the death of these sorts of things. That, and the lack of a killer app (outside of dating).

    I do think that the Google way of doing things might provide that killer-appiness. The information found in these explicit social networks can lead to some neat collaborative filtering and trust-based (think ebay writ large) systems. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Oh, and I think you are neat, will you be my friend? 🙂

  2. nick

    [Orkut] seems to use a PageRankish way of sorting your friends, emphasising those people with most other people counting them as their friends.

    Do you mean that Orkut sorts your list of orkut-friends based on degree (how many orkut-friends each of them have)? I think that’s what is going on, as I’ve never seen this ordering violated on anyone’s list. But that isn’t like PageRank, which propogates value around a network over many iterations. That’s just sorting the list of neighboring nodes based on their degree.

  3. Jill

    Alex, I count you as a blog-friend 🙂 No, the couple of invitations I got were from people I’ve never heard of at all. Or at least I can’t remember hearing from them. I did find a note in one of the communities at Orkut about how you can befriend EVERYONE in the system by slightly altering the URL – isn’t that a great concept? Perhaps I was invited in that kind of a mass-invite 🙂

    Nick – does “propogates value around a network over many iterations” mean that it’s a little more complex than how many links point to a site – and includes stuff like weighting of links depending on how many links of what importance point to that site…? Or does it mean something quite different?

    It looks to me as though the ranking of friends in Orkut is very much inspired by PageRank. I mean, just the use of the word “rank” is rather prominent. It looks as though the ranking system is a lot simpler than PageRank. There doesn’t seem to be any weighting of friendship ties, and obviously there’s no connection of words in sites-that-link to the content of the linked-to as there is in PageRank. I suppose perhaps there could be. Yuck.

    So I’m not saying it IS PageRank, I’m saying it seems inspired by PageRank, and that it works like a much simplified version of PageRank.

    And oh, yes, what I’m referring to is the way friends, community and network views are all organised so you see the people with most Orkut friends at the top (in regular view) or centre (in network view).

  4. Jill

    Here’s a sensible question from Martin Roell – when the system lets you say whether you think a “friend” is sexy, trustworthy, etc, why not also have a simple tag letting you say whether you’ve met him or her in person etc?

    On the other hand I think Orkut might already have more than enough infomration about me and my friends…

  5. nick

    Jill – ah, I see. There is perhaps a verbal connection that is being made between “rank your friends” and PageRank – particularly since “rank your friends” is a misnomer. To rank a set is to give it an order: friend #1, friend #2, friend #3, etc … When you go to “rank your friends” you aren’t putting them in order but specifying attributes. You’re actually being asked to rate them, not rank them.

    If that connection is one that was conciously made, it really seems to me to just be a connection on the branding level. There’s not really any relationship between the PageRank algorithm and just sorting a list from most friends to least friends. I mean, it’s the same relationship between PageRank and my Finder window that allows me to sort files by file size, or between PageRank and the fact that my books are alphabetized by author.

    What I was most intersted to know was whether there was some other metric besides number of friends that is used to sort your orkut-friends list. I guess not? Or perhaps we’ll have to wait and see who can figure that out as the site grows…

  6. Mathemagenic

    Orkut and a bit of thinking on on-line networking tools
    It’s funny to see

  7. digme: blogg

    N?•r jeg f?•r tilbud om gratistjenester av ymse slag tar jeg alltid en titt p?• vilk?•rene for tjenesten. Enkelte gratistjenester er egentlig ikke s?• gratis som de utgir seg for. En av de friske variantene er tjenester som krever ?• f?• omfattende re…

  8. Leo Zhang

    Hi I want to invitation please. I want to check how those friends connection is being set up in an effient way.

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