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E-SmallTalker: A Distributed Mobile System for Social Networking in Physical Proximity

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6 Author(s)
Champion, A.C. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Eng., Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH, USA ; Zhimin Yang ; Boying Zhang ; Jiangpeng Dai
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Small talk is an important social lubricant that helps people, especially strangers, initiate conversations and make friends with each other in physical proximity. However, due to difficulties in quickly identifying significant topics of common interest, real-world small talk tends to be superficial. The mass popularity of mobile phones can help improve the effectiveness of small talk. In this paper, we present E-SmallTalker, a distributed mobile communications system that facilitates social networking in physical proximity. It automatically discovers and suggests topics such as common interests for more significant conversations. We build on Bluetooth Service Discovery Protocol (SDP) to exchange potential topics by customizing service attributes to publish non-service-related information without establishing a connection. We propose a novel iterative Bloom filter protocol that encodes topics to fit in SDP attributes and achieves a low false-positive rate. We have implemented the system in Java ME for ease of deployment. Our experiments on real-world phones show that it is efficient enough at the system level to facilitate social interactions among strangers in physical proximity. To the best of our knowledge, E-SmallTalker is the first distributed mobile system to achieve the same purpose.

Published in:

Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 8 )

Date of Publication:

Aug. 2013

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