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Social networks begin to open up

There have been a lot of really exciting developments around social networks recently. Myspace and Facebook are opening up their networks allowing users to pull pieces of their site and functionality onto other websites. And Google is looking to totally break down the walls around social networks, making the entire web one huge social network with Google as the hub. This also has the potential to turn white label social networks like NIng and Kickapps on their heads by letting users hook into existing social networking platforms instead of creating new networks from scratch. None of these programs are live at this time, but change is coming.

MYSPACE DATA AVAILABILITY
With Data Availability, partners will be able to access MySpace user data, combine it with their own, and present it on their sites outside of the normal widget framework. Friends lists can be syncronized, for example. Or Twitter may use the data to recommend other Twitter users who are your MySpace friends. Right now they are only allowing this functionality with key partners and they are using proprietary code, not open social code (OpenSocial is a standard way, sponsored by Google, to build new features and plug those features into social networks all over the web) which they claim is not yet ready.

MySpace embraces data portability.

FACEBOOK CONNECT
Facebook connect is essentially going to allow users to create all the same apps using the same APIs on and off Facebook. This allows for secure access to Facebook accounts, ability to bring your identity with you around the web, the ability to access friends and the ability to bring along privacy settings. It looks like this won’t be available for a few weeks.

Facebook responds with Facebook Connect.

GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT
With Google Friend Connect any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming — picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.

Check out Google Friend Connect.

NING VS GOOGLE
This article is about Ning, but could easily be about any of the white label social networks. For clarification: Ning is a complete social networking site that you can use without doing any coding. Friend Connect is a platform for building social networking features into existing sites.

Ning VS Google.

Hope this clears up any questions people had around these announcements.

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Posted on: 05/14/2008

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