Social network search engines discussed at symposium

March 05, 2009

By KIm Nguyen

Communications Intern, College of Information Sciences and Technology

While social network sites have grown exponentially over the past few years, the heart of their operations still lies in search engines, according to an expert in the field.

Igor Perisic, the director of search at LinkedIn, told an audience at the 2009 IST Graduate Symposium that social networks function primarily through search engines. However, the search for LinkedIn differs from the typical Web search architecture because it is broken down into two main components—a cloud service plus the search engine.

LinkedIn is currently the largest professional social network, with more than 36 million active users in 147 industries and 244 countries. There are approximately 1 million new connections per day and about 24 million weekly searches. The user statistics, Perisic says, are phenomenal.

"When I saw the number of countries I didn’t even know that there were 244 countries," Perisic said with a chuckle.

He then went on to show several different LinkedIn profiles including those of President Barack Obama, Bill Gates and himself.

"This is how I am showing myself to the world professionally," Perisic said. "Although I think [LinkedIn is] too much geared towards the business world."
Perisic then moved the talk to the topic of search engines. He said it is a social process, and that people tend to share similar sets of cultural preferences with their close social contacts.

He ended the talk by saying that LinkedIn has contributed to the professional social networking world, but there is still "much, much to do" regarding social networking sites as a whole. He also said that with recent technological developments, social networking can be branched out to areas such as education.

Perisic was previously the senior product manager at Microsoft. His research interests include areas of statistics, data mining, social networks analysis, search algorithms, semantic engines, unstructured data analysis, knowledge management, and information retrieval.

Last Updated March 19, 2009