Basketball-team owner and billionaire TV dance-show star (what a mouthful that is) Mark Cuban has some thoughts about Google’s OpenSocial effort and the competition with Facebook. Among other things he says in his post — such as the fact that he suggested to Yahoo that they convince Facebook to license its API — Mark says Google may well be too late to the social-networking party.
Why? Because people hate entering their personal info into a bunch of different sites, he says. And if Facebook makes its API much more open than it has already, allowing the data it already has to move freely both in and out, then it will effectively be in the driver’s seat as far as its 50 million users are concerned — regardless of what Google and its OpenSocial partners do. I’m paraphrasing, but I think that’s the gist.
Joe Duck thinks that Mark is being too harsh, and that he’s just being lazy. Which may be true. But I would argue that most people are similarly lazy. Not because they literally can’t be bothered to type things in, but because they may not see any benefit to doing so — and some may even be approaching “social-networking fatigue.”
Would Facebook try to go it alone, and open up its own proprietary API rather than join the Google train? I don’t really know. But if it did try to do that, laziness — in effect, inertia — might keep many of those Facebook users and their data right where they are. Tim O’Reilly has some thoughts about the social Web and how best to make it work, and as usual they are well worth reading.