Note: this is the third post of a four-post series on how Facebook Connect in changing digital media and online marketing. See the others here If you haven't tried Aardvark yet, register and give it a spin... it's unique, useful and delivers surprisingly high-quality answers to your questions. The concept is rather simple (while the technology is clearly complex): users ask questions to their social graph (across web, chat, Facebook and Twitter integrations) - Aardvark then fields answers from those users most likely to deliver the best results (in other words: Aardvark is determining authority and relevancy to the noise that often exists in social contexts). Aardvark is also a terrific example of how Facebook Connect can be used to solve two major, common issues that I have written about before:

1. Arriving in an empty party: MySpace had Tom... but there is nothing less engaging than arriving to a service / party alone and without connections.

2. Finding: Ever tried to browse Apple's App Store, eBay or any other site with decent inventory? It's difficult and, at times, impossible.

Facebook Connect can solve both and Aardvark is a perfect demonstration. First, they use Facebook Connect to allow users to find friends from their Facebook social graph who are also Aardvark users - this is powerful for new users and for viral marketing (invitations are also powered by Facebook Connect). Once you are connected through Facebook, Aardvark can determine social connections (relationships, proximity, etc) and begin to assign authority rankings based on content, relationships, and so forth. Through the integration, Aardvark has:

- improved viral marketing through an invitation program - increased engagement through social recommendations - improved efficiency and relevancy of finding content, people, etc - improved their internal algorithms (which are core to the social and authority rankings)

Also worth looking at: CitySearch has done a similar integration which achieves much of the same.