Internet pundits and VC's have been shouting for some time about the discovery potential of social networking--the idea that your friends and contacts are the best arbiters of what you might like, and that social networking finally makes those exchanges frictionless. Just one problem: The avalanche of social networking sites--not to mention media sites--makes wading through all the noise an overwhelming, full-time task.
That's what Nebul.us is designed to solve. The Web browser plug-in, which was just launched this week in private beta, mines your Internet activity and feeds it back to you in a dynamic infographic.
Thus, you can see what you've been reading on blogs, or listening to on last.fm, or tweeting about--all in one chart. It's organized like a clockface, so you can see what you were browsing, at any given point in the day; the width of the bands shows how long you spent, and the height shows how much affiliated content you browsed or created, via Twitter or Facebook. TechCrunch reports that the plug-in was also developed with touchscreens in mind, so it will handle the next wave of multi-touch computer interfaces.
Where it gets really interesting is that you can share those charts with friends, and you can see what they've been obsessed with as well. Now obviously, privacy concerns are paramount in something like this--but the plug-in basically gives you control over what you publish to your personal cloud, and what you keep private. (And besides, hasn't social networking showed us that people are willing to trade a little privacy, simply for the ability to spy on others? Privacy is dead--use that to your advantage!)
Backing up a bit, infographics peeps have been shouting that infographics are the best way to deal with the mountains of information that bombard us everyday. Nebul.us is a good illustration of why: Though the service seems a bit complex, all of its features become intuitively obvious, the second you play with the graphic.