Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Will Knight

A View from Will Knight

The Ripple Effect of Your Social Circle

See how your updates spread across Google+ with its new visualization tool.

  • November 7, 2011

In case you haven’t spotted it yet, Ripples is a rather nifty visualization created by the world’s most popular search engine (and plucky social-networking challenger) for its fledgling network, Google+.

Ripples reveals how an update has spread across Google+, from one user to many others, as it is shared, commented on and so forth. The image above shows the impressive stir caused by Sergey Brin’s short eulogy on Steve Jobs.

Few of us have the kind of following that Brin does, but it’s still fun to look at the ripples caused by an update. It’s also an excellent example of how visualization can help everyone explore the burgeoning amount data that is generated by their social activities online. This is something Facebook has begun to explore with its new Timeline feature.

It’s also a clever way to boost engagement and interaction on Google+, which has seen a drop off in activity after the early surge that followed its launch.

Just click on a recent update and hit “View Ripples” to see how one of your messages has spread. For other people’s examples try searching Google+ for the hashtag #ripples.

Visualizing social network data is something our research editor (and resident data wrangler) Mike Orcutt has been researching. Look out for a cool visualization on this subject in the next issue of the magazine.

Couldn't make it to EmTech Next to meet experts in AI, Robotics and the Economy?

Go behind the scenes and check out our video
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.