Socialistics integrating social networking with email, paving the way for Trust 2.0

The killer application online is trust, not just knowing who my friends are.

TechCrunch reports this morning that the dream of integrating one's true social network (as revealed through email) with one's psuedo-social networks (as revealed through mad "friend-getting" on Facebook) may soon be realized. UK-based Techlightenment has quietly been developing its Socialistics program, which aims to bring intelligence to social networks:

But now they are developing the technology behind Socialistics to act as the basis on which to build other applications, and not just Facebook or OpenSocial versions. They started off with FriendVox recently, a VOIP client for Facebook, and are now working in stealth mode on an application to analyse your Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird email, in fact any POP3 or IMAP email account....

Eventually Techlightenment is planning for Socialists to be extended from analysing your email and social networks to gathering information about your daily workflow, IM and even phone conversations. Think a tag-cloud of your life, complete with graphs and sliders.

All of which is great, but I still think it misses out on the truly interesting things to do with that data. I already know who my friends are. Socialistics presumably makes that apparent with tag clouds and what-not. But that's a superficial and not-so-interesting use of the data.

The real meat comes from the trust that such data displays. Basically, it reveals a network of trusted relationships, with which you could do all sorts of things like enable online commerce. Once you know or have reason to trust the person on the other side of the web, cool things can happen. Much cooler than tag clouds.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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