Facebook, Google & Plaxo Join the DataPortability WorkGroup

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This rocks: Duncan Riley just has a scoop on Techcrunch announcing that Facebook, Google and Plaxo are joining the DataPortability Workgroup

Duncan had been hinting at something big on Twitter, and what can I say, he was right: “I don’t joke when I say that the post I’ve written changes the entire game.”

DataPortability, and particularly being able to move around your social network, is said to be one of the hottest topics in 2008, and for a reason. Facebook and Google are in, so this is going to happen, fast.

More thoughts on this later, I’ll have to go dig up more stuff first.

Update: In the comments to Duncan’s TC article, Joey3fingers asks what this will mean exactly: “Are you just telling us that Google now has all of our contacts now?”

No, it doesn’t. Quite the contrary, what Data Portability (DP) means is that we (the users) get more control over our data. (See Robert Scoble’s explanation video here.) DP allows us to take our data and take it somewhere else.

Why is this so important?

Well, first of all, our data (more exactly: our social network information aka the social graph, i.e. who we know) is what essentially makes Facebook & co work, it’s the very core of their business. But so far, we couldn’t take our data and take it somewhere else: Our data was locked in there, which is why those social networks are usually referred to as a walled garden. Facebook’s terms of service basically sucks in our data and won’t allow us to take in elsewhere.

Second, so far we had to re-enter all of our social network data over and over again, whenever we joined a new service. Every single time, we had to re-enter our contacts and friends, sort them into groups and what not. The term Social Network Fatigue was coined for a reason.

Both issues could be tackled now, thanks to the big players joining the DataPoratbility Workgroup. So stay tuned.

Update: ReadWriteWeb also has coverage.

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