Brij Singh's Blog

April 24, 2010

Surely you are joking, Mr Open!

Filed under: Tech — Brij @ 7:40 am

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote this in the beginning of 19th century:

“Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.”

Let’s vandalize this statement to suit our current taste:

“Every vendor alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second vendor, hypocrisy begins.”

Social media segment is seeing an onslaught of hypocrisy like we’ve never seen before. This practice is not only institutionalized but it has evolved to a stage where you really need to have good filter in order to catch bs.

Technology movement called OpenThatGoddamnMarketWhichWeFailedToCaptureInTheFirstPlace!

This type of movement has a long history. Though in current context this can be traced back to the phenomenal success achieved by Google. Google indexed pretty much all the web, it has a near monopoly on $30 billion paid search market and has a near universal presence in all the web sites using Google Analytics and other javascript embeds. Google never launched OpenSearch or OpenIndex. They don’t have to as they rule this space. So the job of waving Open flag was left for vendors who were catching up.

At the entrance of a second vendor, hypocrisy begins.

Facebook rules social world. They have found a nice hack to do what Google did but with a lot less data center resources. Their Like model gains from user engagement. Like is a vote. Like is a Farmville style crowdsourced indexing of the web. This vote goes into huge Facebook ocean, where on the other end, massive data crunching monetization monster is waiting for it. Like is also an action which will grow to become a Buy button in near future. Stakes are high and so is the market size. So what’s going to happen now? Let’s recycle Michael Corleone:
We’re both part of the same hypocrisy, senator, but never think it applies to my portfolio.

There is plenty of commentary going on around ‘Open’. Read between the lines or better read author’s disclosure page: Facebook Open Graph, Open Like, Private Social Graph. Meaning of the Word Open. Open Than Thou. Facebook F8 good for open web. For the geekier version you can follow these resources: Open Graph Protocol, Data liberation, Open Like, OAuth 2.0

You can expect further erosion of user privacy and can very well expect more innovation in default privacy management. What I am more concerned about is the inclusion of engagement and game dynamics in user privacy settings. Argument will go like this: it’s fun and it’s designed to increase user engagement.

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