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Google and Facebook Join 60

technirvana sends us to ReadWriteWeb for the scoop on the announcement this morning that representatives from Google and Facebook are joining the DataPortability Workgroup. Quoting: "The group is working on a variety of projects to foster an era in which users can take their data from the websites they use to reuse elsewhere... Good bye customer lock-in, hello to new privacy challenges. If things go right, today could be a very important day in the history of the internet. The non-participation of Google and Facebook, two companies that hold more user data and do more with it than almost any other consumer service on the market, was the biggest stumbling block to the viability of the project. These are two of the most important companies in recent history — what's being decided now is whether they will be walled-garden, data-horders or truly open platforms tied into a larger ecosystem of innovation with respect for user rights and sensible policies about data."
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Google and Facebook Join

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  • Oh, please... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @05:57PM (#21960964) Homepage
    "Walled-garden, data horders"???

    Nothing like emotional polarization rather than rational discussion. Is the poster running for president or something?
  • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:34PM (#21961666)

    "Google and Facebook, two companies that hold more user data and do more with it than almost any other consumer service on the market..."

    "These are two of the most important companies in recent history"
    TWO? No. Not even close. Google sure -- they have lots of user data and are surely important in the recent history of the Web. But Facebook isn't even the biggest in its own field. Love it or hate it, Myspace still has many, many more users and much more influence. They may still be drowning in OMG Ponies!!!1! glitter, but they have the backing of one of the worlds biggest (and scariest) media empires.

    Facebook is in all likelihood little more than a fad. They're not ground breaking, nor especially innovative, they are not leaders in their field (unless, maybe, you could user protest and rebellion figures).

    Thus, my conclusion is that this "article" was brought to you (at least indirectly) by the Marketing Droids over at Facebook.

    That said, the principle of portable data and removal of proprietary walled gardens is certainly a good thing.
  • by Bored MPA ( 1202335 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:07PM (#21962112)
    Basically facebook is already two-faced, so their participation in this seems like it could be a mission to slow/derail/control development. Yesterday's article on facebook banning those who use aggregators from their site (with user permission) is just one example of where facebook does one thing and demands another.

    In addition to one-sided policies, facebook has a feature system that requires you to give full access to any application any of your friends is using/spamming you with--just to receive their message. Every time I get a message on that site I am required to add the application and check 4 boxes giving full access to my information (there is no middle road) in order to read the message.

    Facebook's privacy functionality is completely unacceptable to me but seems okay with the huge numbers of folks adding 3 feet of application on their profiles. Sadly, I suspect facebook is not a fad, but instead a new and more obnoxious myspace with even less privacy controls--and a poorer track record.

    oops. that was a rant.


    "To say that the backdrop is 'recession like' is akin to an obstetrician telling a woman that she is 'sort of pregnant'" -- Merrill Lynch
  • by DiscoLizard ( 925782 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:21PM (#21962280)

    Facebook is in all likelihood little more than a fad. They're not ground breaking, nor especially innovative, they are not leaders in their field (unless, maybe, you could user protest and rebellion figures).
    Microsoft aren't ground-breaking or especially innovative, but they seem to have done alright.

    Being successful isn't about being innovative and coming up with new products - it's about earning more revenue than your competition by (hopefully) providing a better service.

    I think, for the moment, the quality of data available to marketers is much better on Facebook than on Myspace. It therefore seems Facebook is likely to continue to grow - as the amount of advertising dollars flowing in likewise grows.

    Notice how many people put albums of photos on Facebook, compared to Myspace - it's a good indicator of whether they will stay with the service. What I've noticed is that people generally can't be bothered switching if it means going through all the hassle of setting up their photos again, even if they're prepared to set up their 'friend list' or whatever again.
  • by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @09:59PM (#21963970) Homepage
    As Mark Pilgrim said [], "Praising companies for providing APIs to get your own data out is like praising auto companies for not filling your airbags with gravel." It's depressing that this isn't all a given.
  • by DiscoLizard ( 925782 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:15PM (#21964538)

    Are you confusing Facebook with Flickr or Picasa? Facebook runs a Java program that spends ten minutes converting my beautiful hi-res photos to postage stamps. The results are pathetic! 50meg in 2meg out.

    The point of hosting photos on Facebook is not to be able to display high-res images, but to share 'good enough' photos with friends.

    Facebook has no need whatsoever to keep your original photo - as you've pointed out, picasa and flickr already fill that space.

    I don't keep my RAWs, TIFFs or PSDs on Facebook, I upload 800px jpegs that my friends might actually want to look at. If they want a larger version, I can direct them to my flickr or send it to them direct.
  • by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:35AM (#21965652)

    What if I were to become very vocal about some of the practices of say, Viacom, and then I applied for a job there?
    Then you'd be a hypocrite (or a shill, or a sellout...), which you'd still be if your IRL identity and avatar are kept separate. It'd be your choice to apply for such a job, but you'd get cognitive dissonance up the wazoo.

    Speech is free--use it at your own risk.

    - RG>
  • by Nurgled ( 63197 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @10:14AM (#21967828)

    This argument -- that is, the "I want to keep everything separate!" argument -- always seems to come up when stuff like this is under discussion. The important thing to bear in mind is that these technologies are there to enable you to link profiles and transfer data between sites. There's nothing forcing you to do so. If you continue to maintain a separate profile for each site, then you haven't gained nor lost anything.

    I currently have a "work" persona and a "personal" persona, plus a whole bunch of vaugely-anonymous personas. These new technologies like OpenID and so on have been a boon for my "personal" persona, but haven't had any effect whatsoever on the one-off "anonymous" personas I have on certain sites, even where those sites have support for these linking/sharing technologies.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend