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How Friendster Works

        Tech | Social Networks

Friendster Applications
Photo courtesy Friendster

If profiles are the house, applications are the TV and telephone. As social networking sites reached saturation, many people found themselves with multiple profiles, tons of friends and nothing new to do with them. That's where applications come in. Also sometimes referred to as widgets, applications are fun, interactive tools designed for sharing and real-time play. Create quizzes like "How evil am I?" and compare answers with friends. Broadcast your up-to-the-minute moods with the Emote application. Just click the Add App button underneath the application, and you're on your way. But watch out: Applications can be highly addictive and are notorious for being major distractions.

There are literally thousands of applications to choose from. Most are free, though some require you to earn "spending" points (for example, sending a certain number of virtual gifts to friends in exchange for more spending points). Sending and receiving invitations to add widgets are great ways to figure out which ones you like and share favorites. You can also browse by category, search alphabetically or check out the daily Most Popular list to see what everyone else is using.

These are just a few of the thousands of applications you can use when you join Friendster.­

Some of the top applications on Friendster include the following:

  • Imeem: Similar to iTunes. You can add music, videos and photos to your profile.
  • Chat: Gab live with friends a la instant messenger using text, webcam or call via phone anonymously.
  • MyMiniLife: Build and decorate 3-D homes and compete with other users over whose digs are most fabulous.

Video and photo applications are also big attention-getters. Personalize and share favorite YouTube videos with SkinFlix. The Likeness app lets you find out which gorgeous celebrity you most resemble and compare with friends. Entertainment and music categories range from TV show fan groups like Addicted to… (e.g., "Heroes" or "Lost"), to gBox wishlist, where you can tell friends what music you like and they can send downloads as gifts.

Some of these applications were designed by Friendster, but many are created by outside developers or savvy Friendster users who make up something fun and then share it with friends. In November 2007, Friendster swung the door open for creativity when it went to an open platform system. Essentially, it's much easier for developers to create, upgrade and market their applications to the Friendster community. (For more on the open platform, see the Competition and Future of Friendster).

Can you have 150,000 friends? And what exactly is a "friend," anyway? Find out in the next section.