The team at MIT Media Lab have launched an interesting data visualization tool called Immersion.
Immersion maps relationships between your contacts, leveraging metadata from gmail. They don’t read the content of the emails, so, similar to the NSA Prism app, they just give you an indication of who you’ve been in email contact with, clustered together by who was involved in those conversations.
The app is pretty cool and the clusters it generated for me made sense.
MIT is not the first to provide a tool to track and visualize relationships by email. There was an enterprise knowledge management app about 7-8 years ago (can’t recall the name) that mapped relationships via email across the enterprise, looking to identify the informal reporting structures that weren’t obvious.
What’s interesting about Immersion is just how much information can be identified simply from email metadata. More compelling would be to allow Immersion to index all of your gmail content, then be able to create these visual maps based on specific content topics.
Try Immersion on your gmail account.