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Software Tracks Internet Moodswings

If it's February 14, the Internet must be in love.

So say a trio of Dutch researchers, who claim that they can track the "mood" of the Internet by monitoring millions of blogs. The three from the NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) have produced a program, dubbed "MoodViews," that spots trends in attitudes, if not in latitudes, of more than two million bloggers, and thus, they say, of the overall "mood patterns" of the Web.

"The clearly measurable responses to worldwide events suggest that these instruments pick up the global mood," Maarten de Rijke, a professor at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and part of its Intelligent Systems Lab, said in a statement. Colleagues Gilad Mishne and Krisztian Balog work with de Rijke on the project.

Each day, MoodViews reviews 150,000 blog entries for target words and LiveJournal mood indicator tags, then categorize them into one or more of 30 to 40 different moods, ranging from "cranky" and "confused" to "horny" and "hopeful."

The results are published daily as a series of graphs at the MoodViews site.

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