On May 8 MySpace announced "data availability," and about 24 hours later, Facebook announced its own version: Facebook Connect. As Mashable's Adam Ostrow reported, Facebook's version includes an appealing feature for developers building bridges between online alumni communities and third-party social sites. It's called Trusted Authentication, and using it, Facebook members...
...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.
Other features will also appeal to harried alumni officers trying to figure out how to blend closed alumni networks with third-party sites.
- Real Identity allows you to tote your basic Facebook data, photos, friend lists, and more with you, all over the web; and
- Dynamic Privacy means that your privacy preferences and settings will follow you too. If you change a privacy setting in Facebook, that setting is reflected in partnered sites as well.
It seems on the surface as if the much-hyped (but still very new) DataPortability effort is about to get a lot more real for users. MySpace announced that Twitter, eBay and Yahoo! were lined up and almost ready to implement, so we can expect similar announcements from Facebook imminently. And today (May 12) we will likely hear from Google about its "Friend Connect" initiative, so there will be more to write on this topic soon.
However, we shouldn't get super-excited yet about DataPortability. The systems announced in the past week are still highly proprietary, and don't match the "friction free inter-operable" model that DataPortability requires. We are a long way from open standards for moving our data around the internet. But at least we're moving in that general direction.
As for the alumni world, these announcements popped up right as I was finally sitting down to make sense of recent whitepapers from Harris Connect and iModules. I'll cover some of that content and its possible connection to this posting in a few days.
Additional coverage of Facebook Connect from Inside Facebook
Coverage of Google's Friend Connect via c|net