Huge: Facebook, Plaxo and Google open up

by Mathew on January 8, 2008 · 13 comments

This is pretty big news, it seems to me, after all of the back-and-forth about data being trapped inside Facebook — the social-networking site has joined the Data Portability Group, along with Plaxo and Google, and will now be helping come up with a standard for moving personal data into and out of different networks. For all the brouhaha about Scoble and what an attention hog he is, there was an important point in all of that, which was laid out quite well earlier today in a thoughtful post at GigaOm by my friend Alec Saunders of Iotum. Let’s hope this effort makes it easier to own your own data, and move freely from place to place.

  • WhatsNext

    *******I THINK THIS IS BAD NEWS FOR NEW START-UPS.*******

    If any system of which data of the user is shared across multiple sites, would the valuation of those sites using the shared information not be cut by at least 50%?

    Lets take Facebook for example. I figure their multi-billion dollar valuation is for their ability to reach to millions, and the information they have about all of those users.

    If then one company, lets take OpenSocial (google) has all that information, they are the true big-wigs.

    So, for convenience, its great, but for the sites using it, it won’t be as valuable if their looking for an exit-strategy, right?

    I’m not an economist here, so please let me know if I am way off, but thats how I see it going down.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I'm not sure you're right, What's Next.

    I don't think Facebook's valuation is based on the fact that it has
    somehow trapped its users and all of their data inside its
    walled-garden network — otherwise known as the “roach motel” business
    model. And if that is what it's valuation is based on, then much of it
    will vanish.

    I'd like to think that social networks rise or fall based on what they
    can help you do, or how easy they make it to create a network of
    friends, rather than how efficiently they lock you in — although I
    know there are some big companies who disagree on that.

  • http://www.venturebeat.com Eric Eldon

    Matthew, Facebook isn't opening up and that's why I don't think this is huge news. All the announcement says is that the companies are agreeing to talk about best practices.

    If Facebook were to open up, after working things out with other workgroup members, that would be huge news.

  • http://technozzle.com drBaher

    Although Data is very important to any social network, what you do with the data is the real essence of any service, and depending on users’ data for value is not a good business decision, as sooner or later users will move on to better social networks.

    Plus, I don’t think social networks will open all of their data, just share some of it and allow its users to export them using certain yet-to-be-know standards.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I agree that it's not exactly opening up yet, Eldon — but “talking
    about opening up” wouldn't fit in the headline :-) And regardless, I
    think it's noteworthy that a senior executive of Facebook is even
    talking about best practices or agreeing on standards — but you're
    quite right that it is still early days.

  • http://www.storyofmylife.com antje

    I love how Plaxo is getting put alongside Google in FB in all this press, good move for them I'd say.

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