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Google+ now lets you share circles

Google+, the newest social network from Google, has grown to a staggering 43 million users since its start a few months ago. One of its unique features was circles, which are basically groups of people. A user can add friends, family, celebrities, or even the President to their circles. Users can have as many circles as they want, and each can be a certain category such as friends or coworkers. Users can share things with only a specific circle, or all their circles, depending on their choice. Now, Google+ has allowed users to share their circles with other users, so, for example, friends could share a circle containing mutual friends to their friends. Or, a student could share a circle of politicians they are interested in to a fellow classmate.

These circles are deeply related to topics that we’ve discussed in class. A circle called ‘friends’ would usually be only positive relationships, while an ‘enemies’ circle would usually be negative relationships. The friends circle would be balanced, while the enemies circle would be unbalanced. If a user had two people in a friends circle, but those two people were enemies, this would also be unbalanced as the two would try to avoid each other. Users would be willing to share a circle of mutual friends to their friends, thus exemplifying the strong triadic closure property – a node with 2 strong connections would result in at least a weak connection between the other two. If users shared circles of mutual interests with each other, like artists or bands, then this relationship produces value for each user. From just a simple idea like Google+ circles, we can see how many of the concepts we learned in class have ties to real-life applications.


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