January 25, 2013 report
Wolfram Alpha expands Facebook analytics
(Phys.org)—Wolfram Alpha, the computational search engine has announced a major upgrade to its Personal Analytics for Facebook. Now instead of a few basic facts about a user's Facebook page, those who use the engine on their own page can gain new insights into the various ways people are related to them on the social networking site.
At this time, Wolfram Alpha offers a standard free version with an option to upgrade to one with more complex analytics. The free version allows users to view data about themselves based on information given on their page, as well as information about those people listed as friends. The upgrade has focused mainly on new ways to look at the ties that bind friends together.
To help users gain a deeper perspective on their listed friends, engineers at Wolfram Alpha have come up with unique classifications for them: Insider (friends with mutual friends), Outsider (friends with few mutual friends), Gateway (friends with links to other groups), Neighbor (friends with few friends outside a local network) and Connector (friends that tie groups of friends together). The application displays information about the different classifications using charts and graphs that help to visualize links that may not be obvious when simply looking at a list of friends. Creating a doted landscape on a blank slate color coded by classification for example, highlights islands of friends or associates (work friends, versus social friends, etc.) and reveals those friends that link them together. Another lists each category – with names of associated friends listed in each. Yet another displays a map of the world with dots indicating the locations of friends, with an associated report that highlights information such as which friend is farthest away, how many live in different countries, who lives at the highest elevation, etc.
Wolfram Alfa has also added a few new features to the self analysis part of the engine which entails offering more information about how a user uses Facebook. Users can see what time of day they generally post to their wall for example, or perhaps most revealing view a word cloud, which is where words are listed by size and color based on how often they are used when posting.
Also announced is a new feature that users can activate if they choose that will begin logging historical information which will mean the collection of data on the fly – such as time spent online, pages visited, etc., for the purpose of creating charts and graphs offering new ways for users to see how they are using Facebook.
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