Posts Tagged 'Google Friend Connect'

Is MySpace data availability truly more open?

In the post MySpace Opens Up The Data Pipe With Full Launch Of Data Availability, Arrington praised MySpace on fully launching data availability

MySpace is taking a much more interesting approach than Google, which controls data sent to third party sites via an iframe. MySpace is actually streaming data to these sites, which allows for true integration between the services, not just a bolted-on social tool.

My initial reaction is awesome, now I (as a 3rd party service provider) can consume the open user data but reading further into the article

Since actual data is being streamed out of MySpace, they have a strict terms of use policy that forbids third party sites from storing or caching the data, other than the unique MySpace user id of the user. Each time a page is rendered the third party must re-request the data from MySpace via a set of APIs. That means any changes by the user to their MySpace profile data or friends list will be instantly applied across third parties who access the data.

So basically MySpace TOS forbids me to do anything more than what is currently allowed by Google Friend Connect. Granted that there is a technical difference between the two, Google Friend Connect uses an iframe and MySpace actually lets the data out, there is no inherent difference in the 3rd party service provider ability to consume the data. In fact I would argue that it is more work for the 3rd party service provider to provide a UI page to render the data rather than just sticking in an iframe and letting Google do the heavy lifting.

Saying that MySpace’s data availability solution solves the problem of constant syncing of data so that the users remain in control is like Facebook saying that they are blocking Google Friend Connect due to user privacy concerns. IMHO the real reason is to maintain control and quoting the user privacy concern is merely a convenient PR front for both companies. I am surprised that Arrington is buying into MySpace’s PR spiel especially since he called Facebook on their user privacy concern blocking Google Friend Connect.

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Reality bites

Today a couple of posts wondered out loud if social networking has peaked

In particular, Malik thinks that the market has transitioned onto niche social networks, in his words

The way I see it, the market has shifted its focus onto niche social networks, such as those dedicated to sports, music, automobiles and pets. You know, sites like Dogster! They have focused, engaged communities, which means they can attract a higher amount of advertising dollars.

In the very first comment on that post,

Niraj said:

While it would be easier to monetize, I can’t see the niche site idea working very well because users would have to sign up at several sites to cover their different interests. Facebook and Myspace’s broader appeal give them a much larger base, and it seems like a tradeoff: easier to monetize versus easier to gain users.

Like Malik, I am seeing a shift to niche social sites because it is getting incredibly harder and harder for horizontal play sites to gain mass traction, I am also speaking from personal experience with my video aggregation site, JiggyMe.

But Niraj does have a point that it is a pain for users to repeatedly sign up and re-enter the same profile information and recreate the social graph over and over. And this is what data portability advocates have always said, a user shouldn’t have to do that time and again. The real value-add for social sites should be the services they provide, not the user and social graph data. I am seeing this happening already now with projects like DiSo, Google Friend Connect, Open Social Foundation, Google Social Graph API, and stealth startup chi.mp. These startups and projects aim to make user and social graph data more open and accessible so social sites can instead focus on providing value-add services instead of keeping users data walled in. Mind you, this is just the start and there is plenty of work to be done to make the user experience seamless, but it is a good start.