So … what’s the big news of the day and one that is bound to keep the pundit yammering for days to come and no it wasn’t Steve Rubel’s calling us the lazysphere.
Nope .. it all has to do with Google, Plaxo … and are you ready … are you sitting down … yes and Facebook coming together to join the DataPortability Workgroup.
Of course just about everyone is jumping on the bandwagon on how this is going to be a universal breakthrough that will return ownership of our data to … us. Gee this almost makes me feel as warm and fuzzy as when Time magazine declared it the Year of You not so long ago.
In the years that I have been a part of the computer industry and the information industry that grew around it I have seen more mind blowing agreements come and go that I could wallpaper my office three times over. It usually turned out that the press generated did nothing more than give those getting excited about something to write about.
The thing that gets me about this one is some simple facts. First off neither Google nor Plaxo have anything to gain or lose by climbing on the bandwagon other than it gives Google a easy way for Open API to disappear without a whimper being raised. As far as Plaxo is concerned it just enhances their salability which apparently is their prime concern at the moment.
The curiosity of this triad has to be Facebook because other than getting some heat taken off of it there is no upside. If anything they do this they are giving away the one thing that makes them valuable – their user database. It is this golden egg that gives Facebook any value at all. Without that trump card they are no different than any other social network out there.
But really – beyond all the hype that has predominated Techmeme what is being done that will see any solid changes. If you take what Duncan Riley says on TechCrunch this whole thing is nothing more than a bunch of guys getting together to yammer on about a best practices design paper:
I spoke with the head of the DataPortability Group Chris Saad prior to this post (Chris is also the CEO of Faraday Media.) After about 24 hours of correspondence, the following are to join the working group as official representatives of their respective companies: Joseph Smarr (Plaxo), Brad Fitzpatrick (Google) and Benjamin Ling (Facebook).
The DataPortability Workgroup is actively working to create the ‘DataPortability Reference Design’ to document the best practices for integrating existing open standards and protocols for maximum interoperability (and here’s the key area) to allow users to access their friends and media across all the applications, social networking sites and widgets that implement the design into their systems.
In other words yak yak yak with no guarantee that anything of real substance will come of all the yakking. Even though Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb thinks this is a bombshell and Mathew Ingram thinks the whole shebang is huge I just have to think of the graphic done for Che Scoble and have a good chuckle.
Until; or if, some real substances comes out of this hot air I’ll sit on the sidelines and have a nap.
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