Friendster is an Internet social network service. The Friendster site was founded in Mountain View, California, United States by Jonathan Abrams in March 2002 and is privately owned. Friendster is based on the Circle of Friends and Web of Friends techniques for networking individuals in virtual communities and demonstrates the small world phenomenon.
Based on a June 16, 2003 application, Friendster was awarded a patent in 2006 for a method and apparatus for calculating, displaying and acting upon relationships in a social network. Dubbed the Web of Friends because the method combines the Circle of Friends with the Web of Contacts, the system collects descriptive data about various individuals and allows those individuals to indicate other individuals with whom they have a personal relationship. The descriptive data and the relationship data are integrated and processed to reveal the series of social relationships connecting any two individuals within a social network. The pathways connecting any two individuals can be displayed. Further, the social network itself can be displayed to any number of degrees of separation. A user of the system can determine the optimal relationship path (i.e., contact pathway) to reach desired individuals. A communications tool allows individuals in the system to be introduced (or introduce themselves) and initiate direct communication.
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