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Web Page Entanglement 176

jason writes "tangle is a system for what we call "web page entanglement". tangle creates links between pages automatically based on how users move from one page to another. tangle proxies connect together in a peer-to-peer network for scalability: as users surf the entangled web, they are passed from proxy to proxy. Each proxy serves as an expert for a particular subset of web pages. For example, you can take a look at the entangled version of the GNU homepage as seen through a tangle proxy. tangle alpha2, the first public version, has just been released. See for more information, or read on..."

jason continues:

"By viewing the web through a tangle proxy, you can see the connections and associations left by those who surfed the web before you. By surfing the web using tangle, you also leave behind connections and associations for others who will surf in the future.

When you exit one page and enter another (by clicking a link or performing a search), a two-way link is created between the pages. As users surf through a particular page over time, tangle keeps track of popular ways to get to the page and popular places to go next. These entry and exit links are displayed at the top of each page, sorted by popularity.

Clicking on one of these entry/exit links tells tangle that you think the link is relevant and useful (like a vote for the link) and increases the link's popularity. In other words, if a user thinks of something relevant while reading a page and performs a search for it from that page, tangle gauges how others react to that association over time.

tangle is similar in some ways to the closed-loop hypertext system Everything2, though tangle works for the web at large.

We have several tangle proxies up and running. The tangle proxy software is also available for download.

A note for the paranoid:
Though tangle keeps track of web usage patterns, the focus is not on tracking the habits of individual users, but on tracking the trends of an entire community of users. tangle is GPL'd open source [source here], so you can see for yourself: clicking a link through a tangle proxy simply bumps up the links popularity---user IP addresses are completely ignored."

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Web Page Entanglement

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:00AM (#4640322)
    You'd get the a link on top of every page.
  • I consistently get timeouts when trying to goto that link :(
  • by Phosphor3k ( 542747 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:01AM (#4640334)
    Through, and If we all play our part, we can get associated with!
  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by serps ( 517783 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:02AM (#4640338) Homepage

    Does this mean that once quantum computers arrive, we will experience quantum entanglement?

    Thank you, I'll be here all week :P

  • ....Spam links start appearing?
    • ....Spam links start appearing?

      Another question... When does Alexa [] get involved in doing "web page entanglement"... It would sort of complement their existing spyware infested "toolbar".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:10AM (#4640360)
    Microsoft does something similar with their Smart Tags. That is, they modify your page without you realizing it. Only with entanglement, it's done on the server, rather than on the browser.

    Is there a way to block entanglement?
    • It woudl appear so: simply don't use it.

      You voluntarily use the entangled page to voluntarily give the info to the proxy.

      In fact, the link to the original page is at the top of the entangled page, allowing you to browse without contributing to the stats in any way.
      • This question is pointed towards content producers. That is, how do i keep my page from getting entangled.

        Personally, i think it's great, but i can see how people would object (Smart Tags are a bit more evil, because they don't fit into the framework of what's already there, but instead are enforced from outside).
        • by Mnemia ( 218659 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:44AM (#4640491)
          You don't, and you don't really have a right to. People can view your content through whatever proxy or filter they want if you put it online at a publically accessible URL. You as a content producer don't get to specify exact presentation.
          • I disagree.

            As a content provider, I have the right to say how my information is provided. Furthermore, tools exist to allow me to exercise such a right. mod_rewrite is a powerful thing.
            • by Mnemia ( 218659 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @05:05AM (#4641327)

              I don't think you shouldn't be able to use mod_rewrite to alter all your URLs so people can't access things in way you didn't allow. There's nothing legally stopping you from doing that; after all, you own the server. But I do think this is unethical behavior if it is done for some reason other than security. It undermines the reason the Web is a powerful medium and not just clickable television or an electronic magazine. Linking and relinking is at the heart of a peer publishing world where anyone can put their work out there on an equal plane with the professionals and where anyone can comment, criticize, or critique the contents of other people's information.

              My view is that when you make a public website you are contributing your views and information to the massive global community of links and related information. This ecosystem feeds off of openness and places the quality of the content above marketing and branding. I think that you should be willing to accept that when you make a public website, unless you are worried you can't compete on merit.

              Basically, you're free to make whatever you want available, but you can't control what OTHER people do with that content once it leaves your site (within the bounds of copyright law, which has no bearing IMHO on the copy in the browser cache). That's the price you pay for using the Web to publish: you have to let everyone else have the same rights as you, and that includes the right to link. That's why you shouldn't use mod_rewrite to prevent deep linking, etc, though that's certainly preferable to sending out legal threats. You can do this if you want, but you're not being a responsible member of the Internet community.

            • You can provide whatever you like. However, once it arrives at the user-selected user agent (proxy or browser), it can get rewritten, and there is nothing you can do about it. People do this all the time removing blink tags, scripts, and ads from web sites.
    • Or at least a way to flag the entangled links so I'll know they've been thru the process?

      Personally, I'd just as rather they left my browsing to me, rather than trying to steer me down the path the most people have previously used.

      Now, if I owned the path and people were dropping money along it, I'd doubtless have a different opinion.

      • if you'd click the link mentioned in the original post, you'd realize its blatantly obvious when you are on an entangled page.
        • I *did* click the link, but it was slashdotted all to hell and remained that way for the rest of my online session. [tries again] Still slow as molasses today. But I see what you mean. I also see how it's already been abused by users.. *sigh*

    • by snillfisk ( 111062 ) <mats.lindh@no> on Monday November 11, 2002 @01:40AM (#4640670) Homepage
      Ok, for the end-user it looks modified, but please remember that the end-user him/herself has chosen to read pages through entangle .. hopefully they'll be aware of their own actions and realizing that they're reading pages through entangle.

      I believe we'll probably see quite a few entangle communities on the net, where you probably just start your own entangle community with your friends or your co-workers.

      .. and its not the browser who modifies the content, its the proxy .. i'm not sure if the proxy uses any special headers, but if it does, you may block your site for non-modified entangles .. But then again, why would you do that? It would only limit the audience and the usability of your own page.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dubious9 ( 580994 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:11AM (#4640367) Journal
    Brilliant, I can't believe someone hasn't come up with this before. It reminds me of the traveling salesment implementation that models the way ants work. Most ants go the way most ants go, everyonce and a while some ants stray to find a better path.

    If this isn't abused by users, I see the net becoming much more efficient for searching for information. You won't have to wait for the search engines to catch up while looking for the most popular page on a topic, because the best (or should I say most popular) pages on a topic will automatically link to each other based on user flow.

    Am I missing something here, or am I right in thinking this will revolutionize the way we surf (that is if enough sites do it.)?
    • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wurp ( 51446 )
      That's what I thought about in all of its incarnations. is a decorating proxy, like the entangler. But instead of tracking linking, it let you mark up web pages to make corrections, suggest links, request clarifications, etc. I used it for a while, then I used the ThirdVoice toolbar which did the same thing but was proprietary. AFAIK, virtually no one else used it. Even on the sites associated with the creators, it was rare to find anyone posting or get a response to your issues.

      Until there's a plugin you can put in your browser so that every page you visit is automatically viewed through these decorating proxies, they won't revolutionize anything. : (
    • Re:Wow... (Score:1, Redundant)

      by proj_2501 ( 78149 )
    • "If this isn't abused by users [something good happens]... Am I missing something here"?

      I can't believe these two snippets were written by someone who's been on /. for at least 4 years.. {grin}
    • Ever notice that most comments starting with "Excellent" or "Brilliant", etc tend to be trolls? I almost overlooked this one because of it.

      I still see a problem with the described methods though. That being, I don't think that the second-best search page selling product X would want a link running to the next-up competitor selling same product X.
      The same is definately true for the second-best... do you really want users checking out where everybody else is looking for better deals?

      If you knew that your prices beat the competition it would be a no-brainer, but otherwise it would be in some ways virtual suicide.
      • I still see a problem with the described methods though. That being, I don't think that the second-best search page selling product X would want a link running to the next-up competitor selling same product X.

        Content providers don't have control of what happens to their content after it leaves their server (other than not publishing it to the web in the first place). A link between two similar products is to the benefit of the visitor. They can do comparisions between products, and make a better educated decision. This benefits the visitor - the people who make the Web a thriving community.

        If a company doesn't want a link on "their" page to a competitors better product, then they can catch a wake-up and improve their product, instead of rallying against freedom of information (in this case links) and the freedom of user choice.

        A company has no problems with being indexed by Google and ranked lower than their competition - so they should have no problem with this method of ranking.
  • Slippery Slope? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moronga ( 323123 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:11AM (#4640368)
    If the more popular links are shown first, doesn't it just reinforce their popularity? Once a link becomes popular, is there any way to vote it down?
    • Re:Slippery Slope? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Iguanaphobic ( 31670 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:14AM (#4640383)
      As with competition in business, you can vote it down by simply going somewhere else.
      • Re:Slippery Slope? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by trentfoley ( 226635 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @02:08AM (#4640743) Homepage Journal
        In order to know if the page is worthwhile, you must look at it. And, then you can choose to go somewhere else. But, by looking at the worthless page, you have voted for it. There needs to be a way to indicate dissatisfaction with the choice. Perhaps the proxies could detect the user hitting the back button and use this for negative feedback. However, I think that might lead to too many false negatives. It's never easy, is it?

        If I'm way off, thats because I'm too damned lazy to read the article.

        • It does work that way for first time visitors. And it works that way if you don't remember from last time. But if you are following a link to get somewhere, you may remember that the "currently most popular" link didn't work last time, and pick another. This partially depends on what ancillary information is available. If all that you have to go on is a URL, then most people won't find this useful, but if you have the associated text description, or the page title of the destination, then it could be more useful.

    • If more and more people chose to goto the same 'popular' site, then it will get the popularity that it deserves. Fair play, huh?
    • Re:Slippery Slope? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mikeatzelea ( 624680 )
      Reinforcing popularity . . . It works as sort of an amplifier, doesn't it? As such, it is prone to positive feedback (that high-pitched whine you hear from PA systems). People will click on links, just because other people clicked on them.

      Does it add useful information, about a given page, that will be 'heard' above this noise? If there are two links, one of which is brightly lit up, but useless, and the other obscurely positioned, but useful, then which will be the most popular, with or without entangling?

      • This is actually very analagous to the MMORPG Shadowbane, in which paths through the wilderness are dynamically created when more and more people walk through the same areas. Popular areas will tend to have the most obvious paths, but over time the better/shorter paths will gain their proper share.
  • Microsoft Corporation
    The page brings up your header "more play, your way"
    Sort of ironic
  • by maximillionus ( 185440 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:12AM (#4640373)
    How long before this goes the way of the search engines with people abusing this to promote their own links?
    • How long? Instantly! Hell, I already keep putting my site as the exit URL for =P
    • I think it would be a lot more labor-intensive than spamming a search engine. The search-engine fooling tricks I've heard of involve putting sneaky code into your page, or getting other pages to link to you. You do that and you're done--until the search engines catch on to that scam and you have to go look for a new one.

      To mess up the Tangle hierarchy, you'd have to clicking back and forth between and (or whatever) enough times to compete with real users who were going to other destinations.

      Or--ugh, I can see it now--a whole new generation of bot-browsers may evolve, for the purpose of messing up Tangle.

      Until that ugly day, I think Tangle sounds great.

  • everything2? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Lobsang ( 255003 )
    This looks a lot like Everything2 []'s automatic links. I wonder if people won't start using it to express their dislike in an anonymous manner (like, outlinking to "" if they don't like the page)...

    • Mods, this isn't redundant, it's true... and old news since Everything2 is already around.

      Of course the problem they've experienced on Everything2 is that some cool or sexy sounding link is irresistible to click on, causing these links to rise to the top regardless of their relevance. Thus, it decreases the usefulness of the "entanglement".

      Sex memes really are the most pernicious out there... can you honestly tell me you could resist clicking on "The Screensavers - Nude Episode"? The cost (clicking) to possible benefit (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) ratio is just too small not to expend the click.

      Pop-up hell might increase cost, thereby disciplining hormonal clickers, but even then. The Onion used to have an ad called "Naked Scottish Weathergirls" -- one of the most clicked on on the web. It led to a messageboard eventually where people posted digitized women in Scotland -- so many people must have arrived there and posted messages asking about the naked women it was unreal.
  • by clunis ( 62681 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:12AM (#4640377) Homepage
    Excluding mutually authenticated ssl sessions, how can I trust that the document I'm reading is the document I tried to download? The tangle service is already modifying the page to add its navigation links, so why not change the content too ( e.g. remove content that users might find offensive, replace ads on popular pages with ads that you've sold, change links to documents you host, etc. )? The same really goes for any proxy or cache service, and I'm not accusing these good people of doing this, but how do we protect ourselves from services that would as more of them appear?
    • by Jester99 ( 23135 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:24AM (#4640427) Homepage
      Excluding mutually authenticated ssl sessions, when have you ever trusted anything online?

      There's 15 routers between you and any web page you're visiting. That page is transmitted in plaintext the whole way. A man-in-the-middle attack could easily filter/scrub/change/subvert any page you're viewing.

      I know paranoia's popular on slashdot about how "The Man" is going to censor your viewing habits, but if you think that this is some sort of new problem created by proxies... just look at how TCP/IP operates. And smack yourself for not thinking that it already could happen. This is not a new concept or a new danger.

      Take-away message: if you need to ensure your data's passing along the net securely... use a secure transport mechanism.
  • Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MxTxL ( 307166 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:13AM (#4640380)
    It sounds cool, but might prove to be useless... the phenomenon will happen that popular sites will be the ones getting the most hits and just perpetuating that way just because they are popular. More useful but less popular sites will be overlooked because they haven't been looked at much.
  • New information (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Catskul ( 323619 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:15AM (#4640389) Homepage

    If this caught on, I can imagine that it might be possible that people would tend to depend on it. It seems that information would become stagnate and new information ignored since nowone would have exited to it initally. Then again, maybe not. Just a thought.
  • I'm noticing a downward trend here. The web is becoming increasingly overloaded. Once critical mass is reached, the entire Internet user database will be beseached. As I'm sure all music stealers are familiar with, peer-to-peer is becoming increasingly more practical. I see Tangle as a great step towards a peer-to-peer HTTP, but its only a step. One small step for HTTP. One giant leep for P2P. Fact is, not everyone is going to run Tangle. Could it be possible to shoehorn on P2P possibly using multiple DNS A RR's, or in such a way as to bring P2P to a more broad pool of users?
    • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @01:17AM (#4640599) Homepage Journal
      Is anyone working on a personal P2P portal? Seems like an extension of what you're talking about. What I see is software which works like a webserver but is local and accessed P2P. Instead of DNS you use the P2P model to direct traffick and search for content, whether it is files or html/web media. All you'd need is a renderer (think gecko) hooked in to parse html, etc. to the peer who is browsing your site. This of course could also serve up blogs or calendars or whatever other types of web services you wanted to offer to your peers.

  • by bytesmythe ( 58644 ) <.bytesmythe. .at.> on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:17AM (#4640394)
    Well, we know exactly what the first entry link at NineNine's and autopr0n's sites will be.
  • name recycling (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Tangle is also the name of a literate programming utility by Donald Knuth. Along with WEB.
  • by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:22AM (#4640418)
    Responstimes are close to a minute right now on the linked proxy. How would it stack up, if you ran a local entanglement proxy? Would response times still be high, due to negotiations with other nodes?
  • OK - not really like it, but if they start letting people leave comments, it'll be like thirdvoice (man, I feel OLD in internet time and thirdvoice wasn't even all that long ago!)
  • I'm currently trying to figure out why people visit /. most often after visiting this link, which the entangle system tells me is a popular entry link:

    CNN: Iraq Weighs U.N. Resolution []

    I can only guess that a lot of people rushed over to /. to see if a similar article was posted. Weird.
  • Link bad! (Score:3, Informative)

    by The Pi-Guy ( 529892 ) <> on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:29AM (#4640441) Homepage
    You should be using this [] ( _proxy=&link_from_page_title=&link_from_page_url=h ttp:// for those who don't trust me) link instead so the referrer will be Slashdot, so the referrer will be correct.

  • here's an idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tq_at_sju ( 218880 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:30AM (#4640443) Homepage
    put links on your web pages based on what the web page is about
  • by stevens ( 84346 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:30AM (#4640444) Homepage

    This appears to use the same idea as referer-links on weblogs. Here's the progression from idea to uselessness:

    1. Obtain data from visitors as they browse.
    2. Post data obtained form visitors on the same site.
    3. Watch as three new internet startups market a tool to spam pr0n links on all the pages that use (1) and (2), above.
    Only let your users post shit on your site if you want it to all be pr0n spam or goatse links.
  • by jdkane ( 588293 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:34AM (#4640459)
    Hey, I just checked the entangled version [] of the site, and all the entry and exist links seem to go to Slashdot, Free Software Foundation, or other places that Microsoft stands against. Looks like Slashdot has done its job. Pretty funny.
  • by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:48AM (#4640506) Journal
    This appears as an exit link:

    " - easier to use than a virgin on prom night"

    Not very tasteful for a professional site.
  • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @12:52AM (#4640521) Journal
    Call me old fashoined, but I really like the way that it works now. I like browsing the web, page by page, without having my surfing and the surfing of others being influenced by the content's popularity. I enjoy having many different outlets for the searching of information that retrieve information and "rank" it by a variety of ways (and many search engines using different means in which to "rank" it).

    Don't get me wrong though, this is a very creative and useful thing. For example, this would be extremely useful for searching through technical support knowledge bases or for a large company's document archive system. I would just rather they leave my web surfing alone. ;)

    • From my experience, this would be a horrible thing for tech support databases.

      As it is, most major tech support sites already rank and display information based on how many people have already accessed it, informed them of usefullness, etc.

      Invariably, when I visit vendor tech support pages looking for information, I am looking for some of the most obscure problems. And I have a hell of a time finding the information that I need, because I'm not looking for the 'popular' stuff. And if I ever do find what I need, I better bookmark it or print it, because if I come back later, there's no way I'm ever going to find it again.

      I'd rather have a plain, simple, boolean word search engine over an 'intelligent' support database any day.
  • What if.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    A major backbone provider sets up automatic proxy redirection for http traffic, and uses proxies like this to gather links between pages, and with that, create a better search engine than google?
  • several tangle proxies that you can try"

    and they're all, you guessed it, slashdotted
  • Soflinks, anyone? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by AaronStJ ( 182845 )
    This sure sounds a lot like softlinks [] on Everything2 [].

    Really, rather interesting things. Kind of makes a "nueron net" of the database (or web, for tangle). You get to see everyone's thought patterns, from the relevant links to the one or two offbeat ones.
  • heheh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aliens ( 90441 )
    I just added something along those lines to my website. I agree it's a cool idea. Of course mine is way more simplistic ::P
  • meaning... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    no slashdotting anymore? is that it?...
  • oh boy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    this sounds like another tool for aome Farking asshat advertiser to use...Sorry things are bad enough as it is out here without this BS. I imagine a week befoerr the source has been modified and in use by someone to track and record every piece of infor they can get their grubby hands on...
  • Everything2? (Score:1, Insightful)

    This is like the concept of node links at the bottom of everything2 nodes, isn't it? It's a neat idea, but it's easily abused (as seen by the goatse posts above). It can make surfing fun, though. I often spend hours at everything2 following links I find interesting.
  • While entangle is useful for killing fleeing units (or peasants at mines), his Web Page Thorns aura is much better... Not to mention Web Page tranquility... but you have to creep slashdot a whole lot to get enough experience.
  • This is another example of how P2P will eventually take over the everyday tasks of running the Internet. As corporations, such as Worldcoms UUnet, go under in bad economic times it is inevitable that the Internet as a whole becomes P2P.

  • Its nice.....Maybe I am mistaken but isn't this similar to most search technologies a.g. [after google:)] That is to say what other people prefer is automatically tagged the most relevant - google uses it for pageranking, these people display it and some more features.....

    Also as another poster suggested what if I virtually stamp all over the place like goto a page and then immediately goto mine - ad inifnitum. Potential to abuse is always there I guess?


  • Is it just me or did the proxies listed on the site already get /. ed?
  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @01:59AM (#4640716) Homepage
    I'm reminded of the idea of leaving your campus grounds unpaved, and then waiting for the "natural" grooves to appear in the ground where people walk, and then paving over those to make the sidewalks. You've probably seen an example of where there's a sidewalk connecting two points but then there's a worn-out groove nearby that's better, or connects from a more popular location.

    Some people think it's rude or immature for people to create these grooves by not walking on the sidewalk, but I see it as an example of an arrogant designer who thinks he knows the best way simply by studying a piece of paper. It's amazing sometimes, the groove just appears almost magically in an optimal place, given the layout of buildings and traffic patterns.

    This applies to web pages too. But, unlike sidewalks and buildings, you can't see your other destinations when you're sitting on a web page, so how do you know where to go next? This seems like it will just constantly reinforce the previous set of links, whatever they are.

    I didn't fully read the documents (/. strikes again) but what I saw says you move from page to page either by 1) following an existing link or 2) using a search function. #1 is not going to create fresh paths.

    It seems to me, a better idea would be to present a user with all possible links, or a subset of possible links, the first few times they visit. Then as they click through the site, add their arcs to the database.

    After the first few visits, you can stop showing all links, and show them the "most popular" links. If you just show the popular links up front, new paths may not be discovered.

    So perhaps this technique could be seen as a way to remove unpopular links, to trim the fat from a page. Then again, it might not be good to change a page after a person has gotten used to it.

    It's very interesting though. As the web matures, you'll see more of this sort of analysis to move beyond static web pages.
    • This was five years ago (+/-), and "grooves from walkers on a campus" was given as an analogy by Brewster as he showed off the alpha version. I recall that people's choices were only one of six factors going into the calculations, so popularity wouldn't create a positive feedback loop of overly deep grooveness (my paraphrase).
  • Concerns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattr ( 78516 ) <> on Monday November 11, 2002 @02:03AM (#4640732) Homepage Journal
    Some points to consider (based on the handout []:

    1. Server load.

    2. Limited feedback. Would be much more interesting as a tool for discovery if users could grade their findings. Presumably annotation would allow memos to be posted.

    3a. Privacy concerns, i.e. this would seem to provide more transparency to crowds []. And Slashdotters might become more predictable. (Nah!)

    3b. Privacy concerns II. By announcing statistics of aggregate use it might be possible for a repressive regime (China, Scientology) to gain ammunition against individual websites by being able to prove how many visitors they had and (by purchasing an advertisement on an associated server like yahoo) what their IP addresses and demographic profile are (as impled by 3a above). ActiveX or Javascript exploits may also target heavy traffic streams with relatively little effort.

    4. Confusing intent. Adding visible backlinks seems quite valuable. However the client still cannot look more than one ply above its current location in what is still an undirected tangle. Is the tangle team (nice name by the way) aware of the large body of work already accomplished in annotation, syntactic web, Xanadu, etc.? What pressures exist to get people to take the less-travelled routes, or is the purpose to increase the traffic of popular sites? In that case are annotations superfluous? More docs please.

    5. (?) a bug [] in slash they note.

  • Does anyone else remember the What's Related feature that was in Netscape? It's still in Mozilla, but as a sidebar - pop open the sidebar, and there should be a tab labeled "What's Related." It's a list of links between the current page and webpages that people most frequently either leave from the site or use to arrive at the site (I think). Sounds very similar, but since it's already been Slashdotted, I can't compare the two. An interesting idea, but based on having played with What's Related, it isn't really all that useful - you wind up with a common set of sites, and the less well-known sites just get lost in the flood of popular ones.
  • hosts? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NewWaveNet ( 584716 )
    So what happens when someone adds a line in their hosts file for that points to a local server, adds a link to a modified version of the site with a link of their choice and clicks it?
  • What if your brower doesn't ever send referer headers? How does the system cope with that? Or do simply pass through without voting?
  • by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Monday November 11, 2002 @02:36AM (#4640853)
    A note for the paranoid:
    Though tangle keeps track of web usage patterns, the focus is not on tracking the habits of individual users, but on tracking the trends of an entire community of users. tangle is GPL'd open source [source here], so you can see for yourself...

    Yes, but since this runs on the server, how do I know you're really running the source that's available?.

    Or maybe I'm worrying too much, and the check really is in the mail, my information really won't be sold to 3rd parties, that really does happen to all guys at one time or another, and it's not me, it's you.
  • by almaw ( 444279 )
    People will naturally click on the top-ranked link(s) on a page in the hope that they're useful. If they're not, you've just voted for them, making them even higher ranked.

    Google has a much better method for this - it looks to see how many links there are on the web at large to a page. People don't tend to link to stuff unless they like it. Although it's open to some abuse, it's a much better solution.
  • I am typing this in my French cybercafe, which has 10 linux terminals on a broadband connection and an ageing Minitel (1200/75 baud, 9" monochrome screen, Cornflakes packet keyboard...). Scary thing is, to find a specific (and reliable) bit of information, it is often faster to use the Minitel. One of the main reasons is that the Minitel is structured in a way that is relatively intuitive for most people.

    Tracking which paths people follow is very clever, but I can't help thinking that it would be better if website designers put more effort into their navigation aids, link pages, and - gasp - maybe listened to their visitors a bit more.

    The real genius of the Minitel is that it got thin client technology into millions of French homes long before anyone in France or the USA had heard of the Internet, because it is as easy to use as a telephone. The Internet has a long way to go on that score, and I don't think being able to see how everyone else gets lost is going to help in this respect.

  • This seems a good opportunity to remind everyone of Vannevar Bush's "Memex" idea, dating to 1945.

    The original article can be found here []

  • Softlinks have escaped from E2 [] to the rest of the Web! No one is safe!

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN