Brij Singh's Blog

May 9, 2008

Facebook Connect: Data portability done right

Filed under: Tech — Brij @ 9:47 pm

We are seeing continuous attempts by leading social network platforms to get into developers mind and mess up their product roadmap.

I am using "mess up" in the nice way as, along with end users, it's the developer community who stand to gain most from this dog fight between Facebook, Myspace and Google.

While we were still clearing the fog surrounding Myspace's Data Availability announcement, today Facebook announced very similar initiative called Facebook Connect. Compared to Myspace, Facebook announcement is more technical and easier to grasp (meaning MessageDance will be working on the APIs come this Monday!)

Trusted Authentication
Users will be able to connect their Facebook account with any partner website using a trusted authentication method. Whether at login, or anywhere else a developer would like to add social context, the user will be able to authenticate and connect their account in a trusted environment. The user will have total control of the permissions granted.

Real Identity
Facebook users represent themselves with their real names and real identities. With Facebook Connect, users can bring their real identity information with them wherever they go on the Web, including: basic profile information, profile picture, name, friends, photos, events, groups, and more.

Friends Access
Users count on Facebook to stay connected to their friends and family. With Facebook Connect, users can take their friends with them wherever they go on the Web. Developers will be able to add rich social context to their websites. Developers will even be able to dynamically show which of their Facebook friends already have accounts on their sites.

Dynamic Privacy
As a user moves around the open Web, their privacy settings will follow, ensuring that users' information and privacy rules are always up-to-date. For example, if a user changes their profile picture, or removes a friend connection, this will be automatically updated in the external website.

This basically makes your contact list and privacy settings portable. This will definitely help developers ride on contact list as it exists in Facebook. We are using Friends related API so we can relate with this power. For new startup creating community is a major pain in the neck. It's a race against time, Facebook by letting developers dip into Friends list in context which is outside Facebook is a big step forward. To me this works against Plaxo and Google  API efforts. Now developers will start looking at Facebook as a social identity platform with complete contact list, privacy and much more.

Now the battle is who can out-open other platform. We are still waiting for mother of all open platform called Y!Open. Not sure what that will bring. Keep your APIs ready.

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