Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus.
Social betworking faceoff post we did not cover Multiply.com, but afterwards we were contacted by the Multiply team and asked to take a look at their technology. We found it unique and interesting, so we are bringing you this analysis post. Multiply has recently experienced substantial growth and now has 3M registered users. The service has been around for quite some time and its core is family and friends networks. But unlike many social networks, particularly MySpace, in Multiply the focus is on how individuals consume information in the social network. Other places focus on socializing first and foremost.In our
I spoke this morning with Multiply's president and founder, Peter Pezaris, and was quite impressed with Multiply's approach. At first glance, the site is not that different from other sharing sites, but after a careful look it is clear that Multiply has developed some unique and interesting technology that is not available elsewhere. Like many other sites, Multiply has blogs, pictures, video, music, calendar and link sharing capabilities. These features appear on the user profile page, like this one, where other users can look and comment on them. But Multiply also offers a fundamentally different way of consuming personalized information.
Proximity Score: Multiply's PageRank
All relationships within Multiply network are of a certain type. For example, friends links are different from family links - and even immediate family links like parent and sibling are different from aunt and niece. Multiply utilizes information about relationship types to compute a proximity score between two individuals. Think of the proximity score as a kind of Google page rank, because it allows Multiply to rank the relevance of the content. For example, when another Multiply user posts a picture or a blog entry - the algorithm computes how relevant this piece of information is to you.
All new items that Multiply computes as relevant to you are shown under the Explore tab. When I saw this, I immediately thought of a term that I have been thinking about for sometime: 'a feed for you'. This is an aggregated, dynamic and highly personalized view of news, events, photos, videos and music from all members of your network. The best part is that Multiply computes this automatically, without you doing any work.
Relevancy Knob & Other Options
I also noticed that the personalized view of activity within your network has some interesting options. For example, you can choose to see more or less content by tweaking the relevancy knob. You can also organize the information by activity or freshness, as well as select to see only particular types of information - like photos or blog entries. The user interface is also smart about understanding what you do not want. For example if you have not replied to a post, it will go away after a certain amount of time. Little things like that make a lot of difference in user experience.
I think the privacy + personalization + automation angle here is clearly a winner. It does not guarantee, however, that people will get it or will choose the site because of this angle. As we know, there are many factors that go into a decision to pick one social network over another. Perhaps adding more flare and features to the site would help the adoption, but the current focus is certainly the key differentiator.