by Alphaville Herald on 03/08/06 at 5:09 pm
by Pixeleen Mistral, Herald National Affairs desk
SNOOPYbrown’s closest friends: Nobody yet. Only people that you have hung out with for at least an hour are considered your friends.– SLStats.com
Poor, poor SNOOPYbrown Zamboni. Here it is August 1, 2006 and SLStats.com doesn’t think he has any friends! Won’t someone please, please help? Go get one of those cool new watch/scanner attachments from Mark Barrett, and get close to SNOOPY. You and SNOOPY will both benefit. You’ll show the world who you are close to in SL, score points for being down with one of the F.I.C., and SNOOPY will not look like such a sad-sack and loner. You want to share the good news with Teh IntarWeb, don’t you? You already trust Linden Labs with every detail of what your avatar does. Why not trust third-party Web sites as well?
Doing a search for my name in Google turned up the SLStats.com web site which publishes your friends in SL. SLStats thinks friends are anyone you have been within 20 meters of in SL for at least an hour. How does it gather this information? Watches. Mark Barrett has created a watch attachment that your avatar can wear, and when you do, the watch scans your surroundings to gather information on avatars within chat range. A skeptic might question how accurate this information is, since the site thinks I am Krisjohn Twin’s friend though I’ve never spoken to Krisjohn. Perhaps this information came from us both attending the Julian Dibbell interview event last week.
This fits the pattern of a number of Krisjohn’s “friends” having been near him for two hours and also at the Dibbell event. Of course, these are early days, and not much information has been gathered yet, but we can imagine how things will look going forward. This suggests that SL is a testing ground for at least one metaverse Total Information Awareness device. It will be interesting to see how well this sort of device/service is accepted by citizens if they become aware of it.
Here’s hoping that Mark Barrett can take this to the next level soon, and combine the spy watch with some sort of chat-spying attachment. Think of it: slightly improved spy watches sending even more information to third-party sites. In-world chat-spying attachments are already common enough that savvy SL residents self-censor what they say in chat, and have been known to resort to Yahoo! Instant Messenger or other out-of-world IM applications for some sort of privacy.
So, get happy! You are probably already sharing details of your SL experience. Google now makes it possible to find you not just on the Web but in SL as well. This will certainly improve the user experience for everyone. Privacy? We’ve heard of it.