Normally I would just post this in my del.icio.us links, but Dan Farber of ZDNet has a very good blog entry about the dilemma that Facebook faces in light of the Google-led OpenSocial effort announced last week: “Facebook’s dilemma: To be OpenSocial or not to be.” He says, in part,
If Facebook has a significant competitive edge because of its pioneering development platform, then adopting OpenSocial makes less sense. And on a practical front, giving Google de facto control of the core APIs for user profiles, friends and activity streams will be a cause for discomfort. On the other hand, so far Google is taking input from partners (who are also competitors) as the API specs have evolved.
We’re very early in the development of social networks, but some fundamental questions about openness are being asked and strategic decisions being made. It’s not even about proprietary vs. open, it’s about “reasonably open” vs. “even more open.” This is progress on the openness front. As I’ve remarked before, it’s good for people to argue about who is more open.
It’s clear that Facebook is growing rapidly. My first impression when I visit some of the other social networks is that hardly anyone I know is there. I have not been active on Facebook very long and feel I’m just trying it out, but it’s certainly a fun experiment. It wasn’t hard to quickly find over a hundred other people with whom I worked and otherwise spent life on the service.
Do you use Facebook? Why? What would it take for you to switch?
Should there even be separate social networks if the data gets federated into various trusted information storage providers? Couldn’t I just role my own with handy front end builders? That is, shouldn’t it be possible for my home “Facebook” page to be on sutor.com via a little coding of some mashups?
Will ads drive these services? If I can turn ads off, I usually do so. Will this tank the business model of the pure social network companies if many others do the same?