How important someone is to your life can be based on many forms of criteria, e.g., feelings, frequency of visits, even financial impact. With the changes that technology continues to bring to our lives, if you consider how much time you spend reading and writing emails throughout a typical day, that may reveal more about your relationships, professional and personal.

Graduate students Cesar Hidalgo, Deepak Jagdish and Daniel Smilkov, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s  Media Lab, recently wrote a set of algorithms that is the basis of Immersion, a desktop application that analyzes a user’s Google mail account and then presents a visual representation of the “important” people in your life. ABC News recently featured this product in their “App of the Week: Immersion.”

Forget Facebook and Twitter, your email may be your largest social networking tool. “People are constantly emailing and messaging each other,” said Smilkov. “We wanted to show people that email is a rich and underexplored data field.”

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.