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Quick: Name that professional network with more than 50 million members. Did you guess... Viadeo? LinkedIn is larger, with over 175 million members. But Viadeo has upped it is game with its acquisition of Pealk, which bills itself as the #1 head hunting App on the web. According to the press release, that search ability is what Viadeo is after.
During undergrad, I worked on a few side projects, with most of them using some sort of social-networking API. It was great learning some new skills and at the same time it was rewarding to tap into the vast networks of established sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Cue to postgrad and I had to complete a research component as part of my course requirements. With a nudge from my supervisor I asked the question: "Is it viable to have a generic social networking API? Will it be useful?"
SXSW Interactive is probably best known now for its size. The event is spread through about half a dozen venues around downtown and greater Austin, Texas. And the parties that happen late into the night can be many Texas-sized blocks apart. It was a perfect place to track the activity--and inactivity--of a bunch of techies. Storing real-world data and making it accessible in the cloud is a growing trend, with a number of devices and APIs to facilitate it. Much of the focus so far has been on health, as it was at SXSW.
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