In the last week, MySpace announced its Data Availability project a way for members to share profile data with other social and community sites across the Web and that in addition it had also officially joined the DataPortability Project. Then Facebook launched Facebook Connect which will allow users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any website. On Monday according to according to TechCrunch (i will be at the announcement event and received an invite almost 10 days ago which i am assuming is related) Google is due to announce “Friend Connect”. Those are the big names you all know, and then there are others that you might also be familiar with like Digg and Plaxo and hundreds of other smaller players that are addressing Data Portability and are 'talking' and 'doing'.
Of course there has been a lot of discussion on the internet, in chat rooms and in discussion lists about what this all means- too much to read as usual which is overwhelming and i am trying really hard to find new voices to me that are discussing these issues.
Are all or any of these vendors with their 'big' announcements perfectly addressing DataPortability project goals? No- there is a lot of work that still needs to be done to ensure that there are standards and this is not about one vendor- but these are needed steps.
Do i think that the big 'vendors' are feeling the pressure by users, technologists and advocates to evolve their user data models sooner then later because of the Data Portability Project and the visibility we have managed to gain over the last six months- Yes.
If these vendors had wanted to 'perfectly' address it would they be able to go to the DataPortability Project Wiki and pull a check list? No- not yet since those technical specifications are still being developed but we certainly are happy to have the vendors continue to participate in those discussions so we can finalize and publish the DataPortability Best Practices (open to all).
The DataPortability Project - six months strong- that i have been involved in since the beginning has done what i think is an amazing job at moving the conversation from the tech zone here in the Bay area which has been going on for years- to the global 'mainstream' (although many of the existing communities have a large global presence of course). Call it timing, call it good marketing, call it luck- call it what you wish- i like to say it has to do with a need...a need by users, vendors and technologists to have one forum to discuss and act on the various issues and opportunities around user data and the usage of that data (the 'Graph').
So how do all the different announcements by the MySpace, Facebook and Google differ or are the same- not all of the details have been published so it will be interesting to see them all. i am looking forward to the outcome of the exercises that Kaliya the 'Identity Woman' is proposing for this weeks upcoming Internet Identity Workshop in which they will be comparing the 'openness' of these announcements. I unfortunately won't be at the Workshop but will be attending Thursday's Data Sharing Summit.
I am just so happy to be in the middle of this sprint to action by vendors, this public cry for control from the users and with all the community leaders that have been working for a long time in this space as well as the large amount of new voices that come with the DataPortability Project- including my own.
Michael Pick who made the original DataPortability Project viral video did another video this week that highlights those vendors that are involved in the conversation.
DataPortability - Join The Conversation from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.