Slashdot has an article pertaining to a new ranking algorithm patent being applied for by Google called FriendRank – which is essentially a way of identifying the most influencial person in a community with the goal of financially incentivizing them to advertise products eitther by advertising to them directly or getting them to advertise for you and therefore advertising to the entire group.

Don’t you think this may actually potentially undermine social cohesion? All of a sudden one wouldn’t be able to trust their friends ‘ judgement becasue they are being targetted to hijack their potential influence?

Sounds evil n’est pas? – if Google starts offering this kind of advertising it would be a step too far. Advertising has become so pervasive in our lives and so important to the survival of startups and web applications that it cannot be ignored, but for it to become pervasive throughout our social groups, friends and familly is too far. Passive advertising still implies a choice to pay attention, active, targetted social advertising is a different game altogether…