The road to data portability and a universal social graph across social networks and web sites is paved with good intentions. But we are still very early in the evolution of such efforts (with some prior bad memories to erase - as this NY Times points out). Without proper controls and credible services related to identity, intermediaries, relationships, information ownership/stewardship, decision rights, authorization, privacy, compliance and so on - I am pretty sure that the law of unintended consequences will kick in at some point (especially in more serious use case scenarios).
For now, an initial level of irrational exuberance is natural - and to some degree that's a good thing - it's nice to see progress as long as we remain pragmatic about how complex this challenge really is... the question is my mind is whether these competing solar systems will next move to a federated model for interoperability as we have in the world of instant messaging and presence (e.g., similar to Microsoft and Yahoo! or similar to enterprise environments and consumer IM/presence networks) - or will we see a different type of interoperability model emerge that balances user needs with the business models of these vendors.
Three’s Company Or Three’s A Crowd? Google To Launch “Friend Connect” On Monday
Well, regardless, we’ve heard from multiple sources that Google will launch a new product on Monday called “Friend Connect,” which will be a set of APIs for Open Social participants to pull profile information from social networks into third party websites.
MySpace launched Data Availability on Thursday, a competing product. Yesterday, in a suspiciously timed pre-release announcement, we heard about Facebook Connect, another similar product (with a nearly identical name to Google’s Friend Connect).
Like Data Availability and Facebook Connect, Google’s Friend Connect will be a way to securely send personal profile data, including friend lists, presence/status information, etc., to third party applications, say our sources. The primary benefit of these services is to allow users to maintain a single friends list and to coordinate social activities across different sites that perform different services. See my post on the Centralized Me for more of my thoughts on this.
Facebook to open the gates with 'Facebook Connect' | The Social - CNET News.com
Social network Facebook announced Friday the debut of Facebook Connect, a new technology for members to connect their profile data and authentication credentials to external Web sites. It makes the company the latest major Web site to embrace the concept of data portability.
The formal announcement was made through a post on Facebook's developer blog by senior platform manager Dave Morin, who has been one of the company's most visible evangelists in the developer community over the past year. Facebook Connect will launch within the next few weeks.
Through Facebook Connect, members will be able to use their Facebook identities across the Web--profile photos, names, photos, friends, groups, events, and other information. Facebook profile content, for example, could appear on other social sites, and Facebook event listings could theoretically connect with external event and invitation services.
Facebook 'Connect' To Let Users Share Profiles -- Facebook -- InformationWeek
A day after rival MySpace announced it would let users share their profiles and other personal data across the Web, Facebook said it would do the same in the next several weeks.
The new features, called Facebook Connect, were introduced on the company's blog as the next iteration of Facebook's platform for developers building applications to run within the social network. Facebook Connect would make it possible for developers to build applications that connect to Facebook from other Web sites. Facebook users, however, would maintain control over their personal data and would have to agree to share it.
Facebook Developers News
Today we are announcing Facebook Connect. Facebook Connect is the next iteration of Facebook Platform that allows users to "connect" their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site. This will now enable third party websites to implement and offer even more features of Facebook Platform off of Facebook – similar to features available to third party applications today on Facebook.
Here are just a few of the coming features of Facebook Connect:
Users will be able to connect their Facebook account with any partner website using a trusted authentication method. Whether at login, or anywhere else a developer would like to add social context, the user will be able to authenticate and connect their account in a trusted environment. The user will have total control of the permissions granted.
Facebook users represent themselves with their real names and real identities. With Facebook Connect, users can bring their real identity information with them wherever they go on the Web, including: basic profile information, profile picture, name, friends, photos, events, groups, and more.
Users count on Facebook to stay connected to their friends and family. With Facebook Connect, users can take their friends with them wherever they go on the Web. Developers will be able to add rich social context to their websites. Developers will even be able to dynamically show which of their Facebook friends already have accounts on their sites.
As a user moves around the open Web, their privacy settings will follow, ensuring that users' information and privacy rules are always up-to-date. For example, if a user changes their profile picture, or removes a friend connection, this will be automatically updated in the external website.