All New Open Socializing

So if leading a virtual life through social networking wasn’t enough, we now hear that players like Google and Yahoo are working on a project which would make it possible for your online profile to be portable as well. What this implies is that user profiles would be shared across websites without the risk of exposing sensitive site specific user information.

Amit Ranjan, one of the founders of the popular Power point sharing platforms, Slideshare, traces the precedent of this in the Single Sign On alias Open ID project. The idea behind it was to create a single username and password which could be used to sign into different social networking sites. One question that comes to mind though, is who stands to gain the most. If experts are to be believed, the smaller players would stand to gain the most. Ranjan says, “You can draw an analogy with the mobile telephony sector where users can retain their numbers while moving from one operator to another. This benefits the smaller operators the most since it helps them seamlessly increase their user base.”

But if this is the case, then how does one explain the advocacy of this initiative by the leading online players, especially considering that they enjoy a vantage position in terms of user base and community? If experts and industry analysts are to be believed, this is a response by the biggies to the heat being generated by the enviable success of Facebook. Zuckerberg’s brainchild had pioneered this idea in 2006 when it allowed developers to use its platform to create applications. It created massive buzz and a huge user base for Facebook which was instrumental in fetching it a valuation of 15 Billion USD. So what Google is doing with Open Social and Yahoo with its Open Strategy is something similar i.e. to develop a common application programming interface (API) for social applications across multiple websites. By doing this, they hope to combat Facebook’s growing domination in the social networking space and create a similar impact in terms of user mindshare. With these standard Javascripts and HTML codes, developers would be able to create applications that can access the participating social network’s friends and update feeds.




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