“Google is expected to join the social network data portability crowd with “Friend Connect” on Monday. TechCrunch speculates

that Friend Connect will be a set of “APIs for Open Social participants
to pull profile information from social networks into third party
websites.”

Google will join Facebook and MySpace, which launched ways to port user data to partner sites this week. Facebook Connect
will provide the hooks to let users port their friends, profile photos,
events, and other data across the Web to partner sites.”

Dan Farber, from Cnet, here :

http://www.news.com/8301-13953_3-9941039-80.html?tag=nefd.pop?881

One of the particularly interesting quotes I found was this one :

“TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington reasons:

The reason these companies are are rushing to get products
out the door is because whoever is a player in this space is likely to
control user data over the long run. If users don’t have to put profile
and friend information into multiple sites, they will gravitate towards
one site that they identify with, and then allow other sites to access
that data. The desire to own user identities over the long run is also
causing the big Internet companies, in my opinion, to rush to become
OpenID issuers (but not relying parties).”

Arrington is saying that everyone wants to be “that” site that people gravitate to, and use as their main portal for their social network. But if no one is working on being a relying party, then who’s actually making sure good standards are created, and that user data can be openly (and safely) shared across multiple sites? I mean, I understand that companies that own social networking sites need revenue, which comes from ads, which are sold based on the number of people who use (and therefore see) the website and its associated ads.

It seems like theres this battle going on over the web; Free vs. Convienent. When social networking is free, people will gravitate to sites that they like. They don’t pay anything, so there’s noting stopping them from leaving one site for another if they don’t like what they’re getting. I’d think its in social networking sites best interests to make it so that user data CAN be shared easily. If it can’t, then users will go to sites where they can connect with more friends. On the other hand, some people will use social networking sites that are linked to other accounts they have (like email) just because its one less login to remember, one less thing to sign up for, and overall, its bundled with something they’re allready using. Not everyone is a social networking nut; It doesn’t help is JoeBobs Email and Social Networking can’t talk to the big social networks (like Facebook, etc.) It is after all supposed to be SOCIAL networking.

What I’m trying to say here is that its about time these social networking sites started working out ways to talk to and talk amongst one another. Its a lot like the early days of internet search engines. There were many small search engines, then there were the web crawlers, that would search multiple individual search engines, and then I think there were a few search engines that would search multiple web crawling search engines to come up with even more listings. You very quickly ended up with MANY ways of achieving the same thing, but all of them worked their own way. I say its about time we get some social network networking standards in place before things get out of hand.