Google makes the right move: Aardvark!

I've been following Aardvark (and similar social search efforts) and in fact, had mentioned to someone as a follow-up discussion to the post that Vark would be a very likely candidate for a buy-out by FB or Google or anyone with an eye on the next generation of search. Bingo!

Of course, it would have been great if I'd gotten around to doing it myself, but thats the thing with lost opportunity :)

What I Need On Facebook

Facebook is up to 400 million users. Thats almost 6.7% of the world population! Awesome.

What does it mean to me ?

On the plus side, I've "reconnected" with a whole lot of folks from my past life. school, college, hometown - they're all in there. I've also connected with a lot many new connections that I forge through cycling, or other activity I participate in these days.

Amongst these, I get to know on an ongoing basis who's working in what part of the world, and who's had kids, and partied last night, and even the political, social views of many of these folks. Sometimes, I feel like an inadvertent voyeur!

Too broad a social landscape ? Too much info ? Some of these are context specific contacts, and while I do share some interests with them, I do not need to know every little detail in their lives, their friendships, their views on everything! In fact, with many there's little beyond the "Add as friend", and apart from having access to their inboxes, or walls, etc, there's little else by way of friendship or any sort of relationship. The context's too weak, and too distant, and its a farce, really.

I certainly am interested in a smaller, tighter circle of friends, and have been actively thinking I need to keep my 'active social circle' much smaller, and more meaningful. Sure, I do interact with the larger set of people on specific interests, and it would be great to tap into their collective knowledge and wisdom on a need-basis - but without the full duplex intrusiveness of every little update from each others lives, social circles, etc. I might be old fashioned, but Facebook is not how my social life - at least the meaningful part of it - really operates. This was NOT that much of a problem when the number of connections was smaller, but the amount of fluff has grown manifold since. And turning a request down has since become some sort of a social faux pas.

There's opportunity for a different layer atop Facebook - which is reducing to some sort of a storage and archival medium for one's entire social graph - personal, hobby-derived, official, formal, etc as well as the activity on it - that helps consume the data from this store in a more meaningful, natural way. Either Facebook could add features to enable this (they were kinda forced to handle the Twitter deluge using the "Live Feed" vs "News Feed" split) or a 3rd party app/site will spring up sooner or later to do this. The noise in there is getting a little too much, and I've been wondering if it really matters whether I'm "on Facebook" or not.

Those who really need to find me or talk to me, will, anyhow. The rest is often just noise/PR.