Printing-ink veterans don't take cyberspace journalists too seriously - Roy Greenslade, Guardian Online
SELF-STYLED ANALYTICS ENGINE Wolfram Alpha has launched a service that aims to analyse Facebook users' networks.
Wolfram Alpha, the often-misunderstood analytics engine that provides solutions to scientific questions, has taken a lead from Klout and offered users the chance to analyse their Facebook accounts. According to Stephen Wolfram, the "personal analytics" service will provide information on the location of Facebook contacts, their age distribution and many other pointless bits of information.
Wolfram said that the service will add more capabilities in the future but wouldn't say how far it will delve into the personal information of Facebook users. Interestingly Wolfram said the service generates a "pretty seriously long report, almost a small book about you", showcasing just how much information it sucked up by the service.
Wolfram Alpha's analysis of personal Facebook data is of course no less than what Facebook does itself to flog adverts. The firm has taken a leaf out of Klout's book, the vanity service that lets Twitter users judge how influential they are by using the all important metric of how many Twitter followers they have.
Wolfram said he believes personal analytics is something everyone will be using in the future, but the truth is that companies use personal analytics, or more accurately invasions of privacy, to make a quick buck.
In a follow-up comment to Wolfram's blog post, a staff member said the service stores the user's analytics information for one hour, which should be enough for the firm to garner a lot of extra information about its user base for marketing purposes. µ
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