Saturday, September 22, 2007

Facebook-Google Debate-Debacle Spark Innovation for Social Networks

While some insiders know all...some users are non-the-wiser...some of us may read and observe...while others couldn't be bothered...

Nov 5 is the start of Google "100" according to Arrington of techcrunch. What does this mean?

The gist is that Google had a secret meeting (naturally because of trade secrets) to discuss (among other things) allowing third parties to push and pull data in and out of Google and non-Google applications using application program interfaces (APIs). This poses a challenge to Facebook who haven't allowed third parties the same amount of scope.

Entrepreneur - David Recordon - gives an example of this on his LiveJournal blog: "It is disappointing hearing stories from developers who see F8 as a very one sided platform; you're allowed to put your data in but not take it out. I'm waiting for the first application which adds all of your Facebook friend's email addresses to your Gmail contacts, just as Facebook is so happy to suck them out via their "invite your friends" feature."

Google is offering an additional layer to third parties in accessing social networks that Facebook isn't offering. But in February, Business Week reported that Facebook (and Friendster and others) is "starting to let third-party developers build new features to attract more users-and profits." The new features involve opening up their API code.

Why is it beneficial for social networks to open up their code (API)?

1. to grow their user base—and build a sustainable business model—they need to attract third-party developers
2. it offers them the ability to harness innovation through creation and sharing of new applications
3. to allow more people to discover their site, which can translate into greater revenues since more viewers mean higher ad rates (branding and traffic)
4. to access audiences with specific interests
5. etc...

Who's in the running?

Google's orkut

We can observe and partake in these changes as November comes and goes - Google and all their competitor, collaborator, and partner innovations - these are exciting times we live in because we're given the opportunity to connect with others globally in dynamic ways.

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