If you haven’t seen this already, it’s worth a look. If you have, it’s worth another look. Thanks to Mashable for the YouTube version of the video.
A group of developers at Facebook have created this fantastic data visualization of Facebook network data overlaid on a globe. They’re calling it Project Palantir, (an LOTR reference), and it grew out of a hackathon project.
Palantir uses the open source jME framework for rendering, and the data visualized are real-time network interactions on Facebook, nicely geo-tagged so you can see visually the global usage of Facebook. The trailing mesh visualization of actions as they happen is most interesting to me because it shows the direction of actions, e.g. friend requests orginating in one location and “traveling” to another. Very cool stuff.
Rumor is that Facebook is considering productizing the visualization; aside from the cool factor, I’m not sure how much value it would add, unless you could watch your own activity flash around the globe. I think data visualizations work best when you’re trying to show benefits or scale, e.g. in a presentation format.
Someone on the video thread page on Facebook has pointed out that Google has a similar visualization at its HQ in of its real time searches plotted on a globe.
Again, this shows the scale (and I guess power) of the data processed, but if you had this visualization available to you on Google, would you use it?
I really do like data visualizations, but for social network data, I think new ways to look at the data are better because we’re still struggling to show value in the network.
What do you think? Do you like the eye-candy, or is it frivilous? Any suggestions for better visualizations?
Find the comments.