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Even More Ways to Find Friends on the Web

Kim Hart

Just when you thought nothing else could be added to the social networking scene, a few companies may surprise you.

DEMO producer Chris Shipley said this is the last year social web applications will be broken out as its own category. "This is becoming so mainstream so quickly, that it would be like us breaking out microprocessors when we talk about computers," she said. "Its just the way the web works."

Here's a quick look at what a few of the firms here are working on:

HubDub is a news aggregation site that ranks articles by their impact on the news story outcome. It's based on the premise that a collective group can better predict the outcome of, say, the presidential primaries, than individuals. It essentially becomes an online betting game, letting people wager "HubDub" dollars on their prediction of whether Britney Spears will ever see her kids again, or if John Edwards will drop out of the presidential race. If you make the right prediction, you're rewarded with bragging rights and you get more editorial control over the site. Hubdub plans to expand the community aspect of the website, giving people forums to debate issues.

AtlasPost is a map-based social network based on GoogleMaps. You can personalize your own house or neighborhood on the map, and also post blogs and tag photos for users to build their profiles on the map. Ultimately, AtlasPost hopes to set the stage for real-life interactions. If you've just moved to Arlington, for example, you can see who else is part of the "village" around you and make connections. Right now, the site is very popular in Taiwan, and the company is trying to expand into the American and Chinese markets.

Redux tries to bridge the gap between onilne dating sites and social networks. To me, this site seems really useful. Based on people's profiles, the site's algorithms predict what they will like in others. Redux shows you people you might have things in common with, and they can make casual comments to potential friends, such as "Hey, I like that band too." It also pulls in information about events and predicts which ones best fit your entertainment tastes. The site lets you break your different cliques of friends into groups, and lets you find events that everyone in the group would enjoy. I can see this coming in handy when you're trying to merge dissimilar groups of friends that don't always mingle well, or plan outings with separate groups at the same time. As CEO Darian Shirazi put it, Redux "cuts through the noise of millions of social networking profiles" to find what's relevant to you.

With so many different social networks out there and countless new applications for them, it's hard to know if these ideas will catch on. Do you see any practical use for them?

By Kim Hart  |  January 30, 2008; 1:09 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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I think more and more people will start spending time on smaller, focused, niche social networking sites that are actually related to a users particular interest, vocation or hobbies etc.

Advertisers will also get better targeted demographics to sped their money on.

Thanks to sites such as ning, anyone can start their own social network for any subject. Then there's search engines that help users find niche social networking sites, such as, http://findasocialnetwork.com

Posted by: Henry | February 2, 2008 3:26 PM

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