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You Can Navigate Between Any Two Websites In 19 Clicks Or Fewer 185

Posted by Soulskill
from the too-close-for-comfort dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A study done by a Hungarian physicist found that of the billions of websites and over a trillion objects on the web, any given two are separated by no more than 19 clicks. 'Distributed across the entire web, though, are a minority of pages—search engines, indexes and aggregators—that are very highly connected and can be used to move from area of the web to another. These nodes serve as the "Kevin Bacons" of the web, allowing users to navigate from most areas to most others in less than 19 clicks. Barabási credits this "small world" of the web to human nature—the fact that we tend to group into communities, whether in real life or the virtual world. The pages of the web aren't linked randomly, he says: They're organized in an interconnected hierarchy of organizational themes, including region, country and subject area. Interestingly, this means that no matter how large the web grows, the same interconnectedness will rule.'"
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You Can Navigate Between Any Two Websites In 19 Clicks Or Fewer

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  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:36AM (#42953473)

    Not a chance, unless you're counting the number of clicks it takes to turn on the on-screen keyboard and type enough characters into Google search for a reliable suggestion to show up. Up until two years ago when I left academia I was with an Internet research lab at a major university, and I saw diagrams of some of the graphs collected by decently large web crawls of the time. None of them would have been clustered enough to allow jumping between two arbitrary sites in 19 clicks or less for three primary reasons:
    1) Most links are unidirectional, not bidirectional (e.g. you might link to a news story, but the news site is unlikely to link back to you). As a result, it's rather difficult to reach sites on the fringe of the graph, since many of them have few or no links pointing to them.

    2) Domains (as in domains like medicine, technology, and automobiles, not domain name like tend to be segregated from one another and oftentimes have long chains before they reach more clustered/common parts of the Internet (e.g. if you start at a particular site for a niche topic, there may be only one other site pointing to it, and then only one pointing to that one, and so on for quite awhile).

    3) Many sites don't have any links to other sites. It's not as uncommon as you might think, and they'd all count as a dead end, which would obviously end your traversal if you were starting from that site.

    When I used to see those graphs, most of them would exhibit chains that would dangle off of the main cluster and would stretch out for dozens or hundreds of sites in length, meaning that if you started from one of those sites in the middle, you'd have to go half that distance in either direction before you'd make it back to the main cluster. Even with as far as we've come in recent years, I seriously doubt that all of those chains have been eliminated.

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -- G. B. Stearn