Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Google OpenSocial not everything its made out to be

TechCrunch was first to break the story, Google plans open an API alliance for Social Networks: Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle. While the media is chalking this up as a Facebook killer, its really Google trying to play catch-up. There's at least 2 huge problems with a federated approach to social network platforms.

1) Every network has it own culture: from a developer perspective that's ten times worse than each network having its own API! Worse because technical problems can be overcome with more technology and more investment, but if your desired audience is fragmented across multiple social networks, you are not going to get traction.

2) Multiple identities: millions of people belong to one or more of these networks but using different identities. I am not talking about the software problem of mapping your identity from one network to another. I am saying I keep my Friendster and my LinkedIn identities separate for good reasons. And the last thing I want is some app from some unknown 3rd party provider being able to connect the dots.

On the other hand, this is very good for Facebook developers. Now, your facebook app can offer you the option of pulling in data from any other social network. You no longer even have to leave Facebook.

Its should also be great for consumers and thats where Google deserves the credit. If it is done right, hopefully consumers won't have to enter the same data twice, using different interfaces. If Google cares about privacy consumers will have full control over how data is used. Hopefully, what it doesn't become is an ad network that can spy on you regardless of which social network
you are using.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Facebook Haters

Facebook fan-boys face-off against Jason Calcanis

Another post by over-the-hill Facebook Haters.

Even though I think Facebook is more quantity than quality, these people's comments clearly label them as Facebook haters. Here are the common "gripes" directed at Facebook

1) Facebook is a fad

Yeah, so was Youtube and Blogger. Facebook may be on every news cover, but it doesn't change the fact that 50 million young (and some not so so young) people have signed up for the site and emptied out their relationship data.

2) Facebook is not innovative technology

I am not even going to compare FB to other web2 sites, because frankly Facebook has lot more technology than most other web2 sites that were hailed as innovative when they first launched (Ie. you vote on user-submitted links but we don't call it voting!).

Facebook is not Google and likely will never have as many brains as Google does. But Facebook is the new platform for developers, just ask the people who created 5500 new applications in the space of a few months.

3) Facebook is not the next Google / MySpace / AOL

See above

3) Facebook is over-valued

No comment there.

4) Facebook won't find a job for me / find a date for me / butter my toast / ....

Facebook still reminds me of a dorm network for college kids, and if you are too old to care then go some f*** place else!