image thumb5 Facebook And Other Social Networks Can Take Advantage Of Location For Better Friend Suggestions, Says Cambridge Research

If you are a regular visitor to an art gallery or for instance a library there is a high probability that you will end up being friends with a couple of people there if not all. The reason is pretty simple; common interests and the fact places such as these are more likely to have people connected compared to those like the parks, shopping malls or stadiums. Social networking sites come with a similar purpose; to connect friends, friends of friends and based on common interests. But researchers at the Cambridge’s Computer Library are putting forward another idea; connecting people based on places they visit.

We know that’s a bit too much of social networking already, but this is exactly where the Internet is boiling down to; ensuring everyone is connected. The approach comes from Cecilia Mascolo, Anastasios Noulas and Salvatore Scellato which has a pretty solid point; places can be very essential when it comes to making new friendships, having specific characteristics. I personally think the idea of recommending friends on social networking sites like the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn based on their interest and common friends could be a bit misleading, especially given the sheer volume of people using the social networking sites. For instance, Facebook alone has over 750 million users and the probability of it recommending friends of friends or similar interest might not work well for the sheer volume stated. Hence comes forth this theory from the trio.

We already highlighted the sociological aspect behind this; people tend to visit certain places frequently are more likeminded, and more likely to get connected. Take an example of Gowalla, a location based social network where as per research over 30% of new connections came from people who checked in to the same places. The advantage of such a methodology is pretty clear; it reduces the percentage of prediction by 15% yet have an equally strong impact on new connections being made.

Scellato added:

It turns out that the properties of the places we interact can determine how likely we are to develop social ties. Offices, gyms and schools are more likely to aid development rather than other places such as football stadiums or airports. In those places, it’s highly unlikely people will develop a social connection

All sounds great, but having one more recommendation system in place to those already existing on the numerous social networks out there; Facebook for example, wouldn’t it prove to be too much of social recommendations for the user(s)?

You might want to take a look at some of the posts that are related in terms of what initiatives have been taken in connection to location based social networking:

Facebook Launches Location Features, New iPhone App, Check-in And Partners With Gowalla, Yelp And FourSquare

Facebook Heading Closer To Location Based Updates, Perhaps By This Month’s End

While Facebook Prepares For Its Own Location Features, Foursquare Rushes Past 40 Million Check Mark

Face2Face: Worlds Should Meet, Not Collide – Welcome Proximity Based Social Networking

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