Contrary to it’s slightly creepy and insect-thought evoking name, The Swarm has nothing to do with insects, but is instead an interesting new method of looking at the web. It’s a pretty interesting idea, and you can see the sites that people are visiting who are using the Swarm plugin for Firefox and discover new websites. People who are using the plugin essentially have their surfing habits displayed in a nifty auto-updating graphic showing connector lines between sites that users are viewing and then moving onward to, and then the rest of the sites in a pretty neat format. See the screenshot below, and click it to view a bigger version:
The site describes The Swarm like this:
Swarm is a graphical map of hundreds of websites, all connecting to each other. It updates itself every second with where people are going and coming from. As sites become more popular, they move towards the center of the swarm and grow larger. Conversely, sites that lose traffic move away from the center and grow smaller.
Website traffic is symbolized with thin lines. Each time you see a line appear, it means someone has moved from one site to the other. You can gauge how many people are swarming around based on the number of lines.
It’s a pretty cool idea, and if enough people use it, then it would be easy to see the most popular sites that the community is using and go directly to them; it looks like a pretty nifty social website finding and discussion tool, but I can’t see it’s viable uses past that, but it doesn’t mean there are none. Right now it looks like the people using the Swarm plugin for Firefox look at a lot of porn, but you know, to each their own. As more people download the plugin, more useful and interesting sites will appear on the swarm list. That being said, people do essentially consent to allowing their web surfing habits to be monitored and relayed back to The Swarm while using the plugin-albeit anonymously and without any personally identifiable data. Still, if you’re interested in joining this burgeoning social site network, head on over and check it out.
[ The Swarm ]