Microsoft analyzed billions of instant messages from its Windows Live Messenger service and found out it's a small world after all. The researchers found that two random people from anywhere in the world are connected to each other through an average of only 6.6 acquaintances:
A new study carried out by Microsoft found that between any two individuals on the planet there is an average of 6.6 degrees of separation. This means that only 6.6 persons in the chain that connects two different persons from around the world are required in order to make this connection. The finding proves that the old saying 'It is a small world' is actually more true than we have ever imagined.
The study looked at over 30 billion instant messaging conversations of 180 million people from around the world that occurred during the month of June, 2006. The conversations were then analyzed, and the results lead to the finding. The amount of information that needed to be looked at stood for about half of the entire instant messaging traffic at that time.
According to the Washington Post, Eric Horvitz, one of the Microsoft researchers that conducted the study, said that “To me, it was pretty shocking. What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity. People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore. ”