If you’re one of those Facebook addicts that can be found perennially punching away at their smartphone, well, you might like a little iPhone app called Rel8, which helps you surface Facebook friends by their tastes and interests, giving insights into their personality, while discovering what you have in common.
If nothing else, this is quite telling of what Facebook has become – less about ‘real’ friends, and more of a network of people you know quite well. But I digress.
If you think this app sounds a little nosey-parkerish, well, you’d be right. But if you’re a Facebook fanboy, you should like it nonetheless.
How it works
Launch the app, swipe the little icon at the bottom to get started and give your permission to connect with your Facebook account. It takes around 5-10 minutes for the app to ‘crunch’ all your data.
First up, you can browse your ‘recommended’ friends – that is, friends that Rel8 feels are perhaps most closely aligned with you. Alternatively, you can choose to manually search for any of your Facebook friends.
The app pulls in the names of all your friends – and friends of friends – based on just a few letters, and once you’ve found who you’re looking for, you can dig down into their profile and see what their top tastes are.
Clicking through on each of their top tastes – in this case ‘Computers’ – you can look at the various publications or groups the person is involved with on Facebook. Or you can take a broader view of categories, looking at their interests in books, movies, sports and more. You can also get an overview of their personality.
If you’d rather search by tastes than a specific person, you can do. Enter any topic you like, and you’ll see a corresponding list of relevant pages. Attached to each one, you’ll see how many of your friends are linked to that particular instance.
The Rel8 app was developed by an Israel-based company of the same name, and it claims to analyse social data using NLP and other psychological tools, to create a comprehensive profile of people’s interests, tastes and traits.
It’s also in the midst of building the Rel8 API, to give developers insights into the personality and interests of their users.
At any rate, the Rel8 mobile app won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s an interesting implementation of Facebook’s own API, letting developers build nuggets like this.
However, Rel8 could be usurped by Facebook itself if – or when – its own natural-language Graph Search feature arrives for mobile.
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