It looks like the buyout by Amazon does predate Friendster and MySpace... though to be honest, there's no way in hell this should pass any "obvious" test.
That may well be true, but, the website based social networking sites are far from the first to utilize this "technology"
'A networked computer system provides various services for assisting users in locating, and establishing contact relationships with, other users. For example, in one embodiment, users can identify other users based on their affiliations with particular schools or other organizations. The system also provides a mechanism for a user to selectively establish contact relationships or connections with other users, and to grant permissions for such other users to view personal information of the user. The system may also include features for enabling users to identify contacts of their respective contacts. In addition, the system may automatically notify users of personal information updates made by their respective contacts.'
This has a very strong similarity to "elite" status granted to users of old school dial up BBSs for uploading or otherwise providing coveted data or services. Such similar systems were even loosely in place within AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, and other dial-up ISPs long before 1998. Even forum profiles could conceivably fall into this category.
"The current flows in a very thin silicon wire and the flow of current is perfectly controlled by a `wedding ring` structure that electrically squeezes the silicon wire in the same way that you might stop the flow of water in a hose by squeezing it. These structures are easy to fabricate even on a miniature scale which leads to the major breakthrough in potential cost reduction," explained Professor Colinge.
This squeezing is a biasing voltage, and no actual current flow through the gate is required, only a potential. Since there is no valence junction to bias before current can flow from source to drain, you do not need to supply signals of sufficient voltage to be registered, again requiring much less energy to operate.
Cost reduction is another key benefit of this technology, rather than having to grow the silicates with an inaccurate doping method over a preformed substrate, which leads to inefficiencies in power consumption and the need for large transition zones due to no two junction type semiconductors having the exact same biasing voltages, which is why standard CMOS is off at 0.8V or lower, and generally on at 2.0V or higher, depending on tolerance. Transistors using less power to transition from one state to the other require less powerful power supplies, enabling even more compact designs, and to top it off, the technology is robust enough to directly interface with CMOS.
I realize it takes more than a cursory knowledge of electronics to understand the true implications of this, which is why a number of you have made incorrect assumptions, but with a bit of extra reading, I firmly believe that at least some of you could become as excited about this breakthrough as I am.
There are also (sit down, this might be a bit of a shock) lots and lots of people who rarely, if ever visit youtube.
Just like there are also lots and lots of people who can't get anything better than dialup.
While both of these statements may be true, that does not make them equate one to the other. There are many people, myself included, with a broadband connection of >10Mbps that do not use YouTube for the simple fact that there is rarely anything of intellectual interest to be found within its pages. The rare YouTube video that does fill the role of intellectually stimulating is usually found through the dissertation pertaining to the content rather than browsing YouTube.
"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_