Evolution of social-attribute networks: Measurements, modeling, and implications using Google+

Neil Zhenqiang Gong, Wenchang Xu, Ling Huang, Prateek Mittal, Emil Stefanov, Vyas Sekar, Dawn Song

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

143 Scopus citations


Understanding social network structure and evolution has important implications for many aspects of network and system design including provisioning, bootstrapping trust and reputation systems via social networks, and defenses against Sybil attacks. Several recent results suggest that augmenting the social network structure with user attributes (e.g., location, employer, communities of interest) can provide a more fine-grained understanding of social networks. However, there have been few studies to provide a systematic understanding of these effects at scale. We bridge this gap using a unique dataset collected as the Google+ social network grew over time since its release in late June 2011. We observe novel phenomena with respect to both standard social network metrics and new attribute-related metrics (that we define). We also observe interesting evolutionary patterns as Google+ went from a bootstrap phase to a steady invitation-only stage before a public release. Based on our empirical observations, we develop a new generative model to jointly reproduce the social structure and the node attributes. Using theoretical analysis and empirical evaluations, we show that our model can accurately reproduce the social and attribute structure of real social networks. We also demonstrate that our model provides more accurate predictions for practical application contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIMC 2012 - Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event2012 ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2012 - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Nov 14 2012Nov 16 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC


Other2012 ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • google+
  • heterogeneous network measurement and modeling
  • node attributes
  • social network evolution
  • social network measurement


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