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Google and Facebook Join DataPortability.org

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the step-out-of-the-walled-garden-and-smell-the-flowers dept.

Social Networks 60

technirvana sends us to ReadWriteWeb for the scoop on the announcement this morning that representatives from Google and Facebook are joining the DataPortability Workgroup. Quoting: "The group is working on a variety of projects to foster an era in which users can take their data from the websites they use to reuse elsewhere... Good bye customer lock-in, hello to new privacy challenges. If things go right, today could be a very important day in the history of the internet. The non-participation of Google and Facebook, two companies that hold more user data and do more with it than almost any other consumer service on the market, was the biggest stumbling block to the viability of the project. These are two of the most important companies in recent history — what's being decided now is whether they will be walled-garden, data-horders or truly open platforms tied into a larger ecosystem of innovation with respect for user rights and sensible policies about data."

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Oh, please... (2, Insightful)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960964)

"Walled-garden, data horders"???

Nothing like emotional polarization rather than rational discussion. Is the poster running for president or something?

Re:Oh, please... (2, Funny)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961264)

Wait...was that the OP I saw crying? Yeesh, I hate emotional postings...and dammit, who asked Dr. Phil to come in here?

Re:Oh, please... (2, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964478)

I was going to recommend talking to Google's stockholder's for rational discussion, but realized that probably wouldn't work either...

Re:Oh, please... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21965572)

He missed a trick though. He could have said the choice was between "walled garden data hoarders or a 1984 style world where people have no privacy"

lame (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21961000)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I
had to take a piss. As I entered the john a big beautiful all-American
football hero type, about twenty-five, came out of one of the booths.
I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he
washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and
married - and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with
him.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated,
hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still
warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the
shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left
behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It
apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat,
stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd
- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist.

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and
wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd
always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little
clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass
and not an end in itself. Of course I'd had jerk-off fantasies of
devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't), but I had never done
it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound
turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy
and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's
handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both
hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled
like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the
consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit
without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it
smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into
my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock,
beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and
bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet
flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had
chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed
I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I
soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd
passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily,
sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My
only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down
with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the
cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more
delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with
the rich bitterness of shit.

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But
then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There
was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished
them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my
briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the
shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever
unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an
unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using
them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my
mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit
trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six
orgasms in the process.

I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out
of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could,
and at least once did, bring to a grateful shiteater.

Downsides and upsides (1)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961006)

Despite the obvious gold treasure room that has now been created for spammers, hackers etc. etc., I look forward to this. It'll be nice being able to use a universal account online. It will be interesting as well, as I think we'll see more and more that people are going to be known by their avatars rather than their actual name as data becomes universal like this.

Re:Downsides and upsides (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961084)

I would like a system where the servers and services using the system doesn't actually have access to YOUR information, but rather has access to links to your information. That information would, in turn, be controlled by the owner of that information. Such a system would be truly opt-in creating a marketing system that people could truly opt-out of. It would also be immeasurably more valuable to marketers as the information would have a higher quality of demographic selection along with more guaranteed delivery of content.

If such a system were to catch on, we'd be a lot closer to the end of spam and similar marketing practices. I can't imagine we'd be rid of it entirely, but wouldn't it be nice?

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

drumbug1 (1140947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961146)

If such a system were to catch on, we'd be a lot closer to the end of spam and similar marketing practices. I can't imagine we'd be rid of it entirely, but wouldn't it be nice?
The closer we think we get to the "end of spam", the farther away we will be.

Re:Downsides and upsides (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961724)

Perhaps it seems that way, but consider if this were viewed as the next evolution of email systems where the sender were more verifiable. I do believe that there can't be a security or privacy system that can't be broken or compromised, but if delivery of messages were contingent on the recipient's authorization rather like some instant messaging systems are today, the worst you might see is a constant flow of authorization requests which would be as annoying as direct spam, but could be presented to the user in some digest form on a periodic basis for their review rather than in the form of millions of little requests. Then the recipient could allow the sender's messages through based on their opt-in selection which could be revoked one the user's request.

I would think of such a system as part of EMail-2.0 standards whatever they end up being, but it wouldn't be proprietary and would be available for every client and server to implement... and it wouldn't be patent encumbered... ah what a lovely dream.

But such a dream would be valuable to legitimate users and legitimate marketers. One of the problems with internet marketing is the vagueness of demographic targeting systems. At least with radio and TV advertising, the demographic can be fairly well defined. With the internet, it's filled with problems and fraudulent activity. But a system that provided more accuracy for the marketer as well as a way for the end user to cut off the senders before it hits their in boxes? What a great system that could be. That would only leave the illegitimate marketers out in the cold... continuing their hacking... writing code that would make the users' computers opt-in to things they don't want.

I can't imagine I am the only one who has thought of such systems... I'm not a particularly smart or clever person, so if I thought of it and it's a good idea, then the chances are that someone else already thought of it and implemented it 10 years ago... and if I thought of it and it's a bad idea... well, that's just par for the course.

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

stuboogie (900470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964210)

Instead of sifting through a ton of spam email you would have to sift through a ton of authorization requests???

I don't see how that would be better.

Internet Mail 2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21969106)

If delivery of messages were contingent on the recipient's authorization rather like some instant messaging systems are today, the worst you might see is a constant flow of authorization requests which would be as annoying as direct spam, but could be presented to the user in some digest form on a periodic basis for their review rather than in the form of millions of little requests. Then the recipient could allow the sender's messages through based on their opt-in selection which could be revoked one the user's request.

the chances are that someone else already thought of it and implemented it 10 years ago.


Internet Mail 2000 [wikipedia.org] is a new Internet mail architecture proposed by Daniel J. Bernstein (and in subsequent years separately proposed by several others), designed with the precept that the initial storage of mail messages be the responsibility of the sender, and not of the recipient as it is with the SMTP-based Internet mail architecture.

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961578)

I have often thought of such a system. A rough idea of what I had thought:

I feel it should work something like this: User signs up and assign retrieves a username and a password to sign into the service. While the user browses they can sign up at a website that supports the SSS (single sign-on service) (preferably through a 1-click system). The username and (randomly generated) password would be sent back to the SSS and stored on the users account. The user should be able to control specifically which bits of information he/she wants to make available to the sites utilizing the service.
This works both ways, however... The user has a control panel, in which they can sign up for websites registered with the SSS right in their control panel. It should even allow auto-login for the websites (if implemented properly, this should be the way it works) as well as the ability to sign out of specific sites (or all sites) at any given time in their control panel. As well as the ability to close their accounts. Users should be able to comment on and report malicious sites.
As a compatibility measure,I think it should be able to log you in and out of websites via independently designed "modules" for sites that have not yet signed up for the service and are not natively compatible. Essentially the module would consist of information on where the login information is to be sent to, and what form elements are in it, where the logout page is, if there is a confirmation, etc...

As you can tell, I had put a lot of thought into this... I even have a lot of the inner workings (both client and server) worked out in my head. I have OCD and have a tendency to go off on tangents and think things way too thoroughly.

i-name (1)

kundziad (1198601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962924)

This is precisely the idea behind i-names [xdi.org] - sort of OpenIDs, but relying on an external database and not the DNS.

However, the business i-name for google hasn't been even registered yet... So I believe that the chances of i-names widespread adoption are pretty low.

Normal Internet users tend to rely on things that just work for them and find it too troublesome to set up complicated things like i-names (what's perfectly understandable). Unless any global IT corporation or government implements i-names and so forces their clients/citizens to use it, we won't probably see any of those utopian systems like i-names in action...

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

Foppel (23660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964076)

Spam will be spam, it doesn't matter if the spam will remotly be of any interest for me or not. If I didn't ask for the offer, it is spam.

If the spam is targeted to my needs it will just get harder for filters to filter them out, as they match my 'usual' profile.

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961314)

Yes, there are some downsides... I dont' worry about spammers, I worry about NSA operatives going to work for google or facebook. Worse than that is either of those companies going to work for the NSA.

Yes, of course I can just kill my gmail account and not play nicely with the friendly policeman but I'd rather that I don't have to worry about it. More pointedly, I would rather that the control of that 'universal data' be in my hands, and not available for the terminally curious in our government.

Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but given the news lately I don't think the replacement for the current emperor want2be will be any less likely to use the tools of the office to play with my data in ways it was not meant to be played with. Even if the replacements are do-no-evil, there is nothing to stop the less than public soldiers of the government from continuing to mess with my/our data.

Anonymity on the net is not quite what it used to be.

Re:Downsides and upsides (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962436)

Anonymity on the net is not quite what it used to be.

This isn't true. You can be FAR more anonymous on the net today than you could 10 or certainly 15 years ago. The sheer number of people using it gives you a lot of cover; when there were fewer users and sites, it was a lot easier to backtrack and figure out who a person was.

Plus, the privacy and encryption tools have gotten a lot better. I don't think there has ever been a time in history when individuals had access to encryption that's as secure as what you can download for free right now. Same with anonymity systems like Tor (although I'd argue it has more historical and physical-world analogs; e.g. the mail is pretty anonymous). Look at how many hoary old plaintext protocols we're still burdened with, left over from more naive times.

All that's required is a desire to have privacy and anonymity, or perhaps better put, a refusal to give it up for a few convenience features here and there. Obviously you lose privacy if you use GMail and store everything on Google's servers. But nobody is making you do that; if you do regular POP/SMTP+GPG, you can have better security today than with any previous generation of system. It's only when you want to be on the (relatively) bleeding edge -- where, as is typical and certainly not new, features have been added without much thought to privacy or security -- that you have to give anything up.

If anything, people are becoming more and more concerned with data security, not less.

Re:Downsides and upsides (5, Interesting)

snotclot (836055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961446)

> I think we'll see more and more that people are going to be known by their avatars rather than their actual name as data becomes universal like this.

What's funny is that I go out of my way to make sure my avatar is unknown, in the sense that there is no tie with my real name in any way, on any website/forum/whatever. If you google my avatar, all you find is which websites I used that avatar, and what I posted using that avatar, but nothing else about me. In fact, I even switch avatars; one avatar for different websites.

The threat I see from this is the potential that you cannot avoid having your real name linked to your avatar's... or you would have to go out of your way to maintain explicitly seperate online persona's: one for your actual name, and one for every avatar you choose!

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961826)

Having your IRL identity linked inexorably to your avatar is indeed worrisome. What if I were to become very vocal about some of the practices of say, Viacom, and then I applied for a job there? My comments on their practices might have nothing to do with the scope of the work that I'm applying for, yet it could affect my chances of employment...or even get me fired if I was working there.

Re:Downsides and upsides (3, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21965652)

What if I were to become very vocal about some of the practices of say, Viacom, and then I applied for a job there?
Then you'd be a hypocrite (or a shill, or a sellout...), which you'd still be if your IRL identity and avatar are kept separate. It'd be your choice to apply for such a job, but you'd get cognitive dissonance up the wazoo.

Speech is free--use it at your own risk.

- RG>

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21974570)

Then you'd be a hypocrite (or a shill, or a sellout...)

That's not necessarily true. I used to work at an engineering firm doing lab work. I was not very pleased with some of the engineers at the firm and how they handled themselves, as well as some of our field techs. I worked in the lab though, not as an engineer or field tech, so why would my opinion make me a hypocrite? I was perfectly able to perform my job while simultaneously thinking that the field techs were f-ing things up and the engineers didn't give a damn.

Re:Downsides and upsides (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21975512)

That's not necessarily true. I used to work at an engineering firm doing lab work. I was not very pleased with some of the engineers at the firm and how they handled themselves, as well as some of our field techs.
That's not what you said, though. Your OP talked about being critical of a company. IMHO, this means the practises the people in charge and their goals and/or decisions, not the competence of the people who carry out those decisions to do so.

If you worked for a company whose goals you disagreed with, you'd be a hypocrite, as the work you do for the company implicitly goes toward achieving those goals. If you just work at a place where you have shit for colleagues, but the goals of the company align with yours, you can still do good work to further the company's goals.

- RG>

Re:Downsides and upsides (2, Insightful)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21967828)

This argument -- that is, the "I want to keep everything separate!" argument -- always seems to come up when stuff like this is under discussion. The important thing to bear in mind is that these technologies are there to enable you to link profiles and transfer data between sites. There's nothing forcing you to do so. If you continue to maintain a separate profile for each site, then you haven't gained nor lost anything.

I currently have a "work" persona and a "personal" persona, plus a whole bunch of vaugely-anonymous personas. These new technologies like OpenID and so on have been a boon for my "personal" persona, but haven't had any effect whatsoever on the one-off "anonymous" personas I have on certain sites, even where those sites have support for these linking/sharing technologies.

Transparency Has It's Benefits (1)

EgoWumpus (638704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21969204)

The upside to that is that people are likely to take their reputation more seriously, in a truly 'Global Community' sense. I suspect you'd see a drop in the amount of trolling and similar antisocial behavior, for instance.

Step 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21961294)

They're are just looking to a create a standard format to make it that much easier to sell all that information to data brokers...

Solve the address book tower of babel (-1, Offtopic)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961368)

I use Gmail and Google calendar. While I'm generally pleased with them, data "portability" tends to be pathetic. You cannot easily synchronize your contacts in Gmail with another address book (Thunderbird's for instance). Sure you can import them or export them manually but who the hell wants to do that more than once? Google's calendar is a little better but only a little. I can sort of update it from Sunbird or iCal (with some warts) but it's not seamless like it should be. Google's more open than some but I'd like to see them actually trying to be portable with the software they already have. Until then it's just a bunch of hot air.

Google isn't great with data portability but then no one else I'm aware of does it well either. If they did I'd switch in a heartbeat. Address books are a tower of babel of incompatibility. Unless you tie yourself to very specific closed platforms (Outlook typically), getting all your software and computers to share addresses is damn near impossible. Want to use Outlook? Good luck sharing your address book with Gmail or (hah) Thunderbird. Want to use a Palm device? Pick your address book and calendar carefully. Sure there are ways to get data from one to another but that's not portability.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

drumbug1 (1140947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961498)

you're kidding right? Microsoft would never have that.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961650)

you're kidding right? Microsoft would never have that.


True, but we don't really need Microsoft either. I just need a stack of hardware and software that actually cooperates. If Microsoft is not involved, so much the better.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

drumbug1 (1140947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961738)

If Microsoft is not involved, so much the better.
... I couldn't agree more, but the reality is that unless Microsoft is *gone* they will cause problems with any "standard". Look at the mess trying to standardize a word processor file format. It really shouldn't be that hard, but Microsoft makes it hard because they have the power to push their own "standard".

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (2, Informative)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962784)

Wait there. To be fair you can export data from Outlook. Outlook will let you export your address book, mail and calendar, Google will not. Google will let you download all of your mail, but there is nothing for exporting your address book. (And to be fair, you really don't have a Google address book do you? It just caches the names of everyone and uses an autocomplete feature to make it feel like you do.)

I keep a Google Calendar for personal stuff and one in Outlook at work for scheduled meetings and so forth (Fortune 500, so I can't just tell everyone I'm not going to use Outlook anymore). Once I decided to export my Outlook calendar and import it into Google's so I could see my upcoming meetings from home later that day and plan my next month's schedule. Worked great, no problem at all. Then about a week later I decided to do the same thing backwards, export from Google and load that data into Outlook. Well, Google offers no such feature. I *could* "share" my personal calendar (give it an address that anyone can view) and import it that way, but I don't like the idea of making my calendar viewable to the world while I do the import.

And this is coming from a Google fan who has four Google related Firefox Prizm icons on his desktop (Gmail, Calendar, Reader and Docs).

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963408)

Wait there. To be fair you can export data from Outlook.


I'm not talking about import/export, I'm talking about synchronization. Import/export is only useful for a one time bulk transfer. Change anything after that and you have a mess on your hands. If you have more than a handful of contact information import/export is useless on an ongoing basis. There is no fundamental technological reason why address books cannot synchronize. No, the reasons are almost entirely based on attempts at platform lock in. Just like the Microsoft Office file formats keep people using Word and Excel, making it a pain in the ass to synchronize contact info in your address book from Outlook to Thunderbird (or any other two address book dependent apps) tends to keep people using that application. Hence Microsoft and Google have little incentive to actually share the data that would make updating my Palm Tungsten or Nokia phone or Thunderbird address books actually easy.

Calendar sharing admittedly has gotten better recently (largely thanks to .ics files) though it is hardly seamless. For instance I use Sunbird as well as Google Calendar and Plaxo online. They work ok together but there are a LOT of warts.

And to be fair, you really don't have a Google address book do you?


Of course but not by choice. I'd really like Google's contact list to synchronize with Thunderbird's address book (or outlook, or pine, or {insert favorite email app here} ) not to mention some of my hardware devices like my phone.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

cdwiegand (2267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964314)

If you've got Outlook 2007, you can add the private ICS link (see under Settings, calendars, sharing settings or something like that) to your Outlook 2007 Account Settings as an internet calendar. Then, after it's loaded it, do an Advanced Find -> Find all -> Copy all to outlook calendar. You'll get duplicates this way, though.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

DerekJ212 (867265) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964506)

Am I missing something? My Gmail account has an address book, which I recently exported to two different formats.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21966036)

To be fair you can export data from Outlook. Outlook will let you export your address book, mail and calendar, Google will not. Google will let you download all of your mail, but there is nothing for exporting your address book
..except that the Outlook export functions are just smoke and mirrors (or at least were, I've jumped off the MS bandwagon years ago).

I used to write software that tried to read data from Outlook exports. The amount of idiotic design decisions and strange errors in the file formats was so high that it was quite hard to attribute it to just incompetence*. Add to that the fact that the export file formats seemed to change ever so slightly on every Outlook version, and it became pretty obvious that keeping people from actually exporting things is a priority at Microsoft (or at least was, like I said this happened several years ago).

As a more recent anecdote, I tried to help my dad move his addressbook from MS Outlook on one machine to MS Mail on another... After several hours of work we gave up. It just didn't work (and Google tells me it doesn't work for others either, so it wasn't just my ineptitude with Windows).

*) One example: the calendar CSV export
      - columns are identified only by column names on the first row
      - column names are localized (yes, a localized export file)
      - column order is slightly different on every Outlook version so that can't be used to identify columns
The result: a machine-unreadable file format.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (1)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21967878)

Google Calendar has a synchronization API [google.com] . I use it to synchronize my mobile phone calendar with my calendar at Google.

I don't know whether or not someone has written a plugin to make Outlook support this protocol, but there's nothing at Google's end stopping them from doing so.

Re:Solve the address book tower of babel (2, Informative)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962820)

Want to use Outlook? Good luck sharing your address book with Gmail or (hah) Thunderbird

Gosh, I must be extremely lucky; I typed "export contacts" in Outlook help, and, what do you know, I got a link to an article helpfully named "Transfer contacts between Outlook and Google Gmail". Just export your Outlook contact list as a CSV file and import it into GMail. Trivial.

Import/Export sucks (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963230)

Gosh, I must be extremely lucky...


Good for you. What are you going to do when one of them changes? Oh that's right, you're screwed. You don't want duplicates? Want to have a third address book? You don't want to manually have to maintain two or more address books? Have fun with your CSV files and manual updates.

Of course you have been able to import and export since time immemorial. That's almost USELESS after the first time, not to mention a pain in the ass. I was talking about synchronization, not import/export. Import/export is only a solution for someone with a very small address book or WAY too much time on their hands.

why not do something right now? (3, Interesting)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961448)

Most of the data people want to move around has obvious formats, and where there aren't obvious formats, the first people to do something reasonable get to set the standard. What are some of the things Google and Facebook can do right now?

There are commonly used formats for contact info, addresses, appointments, todo lists, notes, and bookmarks. For images, Google could offer downloading of a zip of an album or all albums. For documents and document backup, Google could offer downloading of a zip of a folder or the entire collection. Mail can be backed up via IMAP pretty well, but a zipped mbox file might also be nice. For information in search results and other web pages, Google could use microformats.

So, talk if you like, but these companies can do a lot better than they are doing right now without waiting for some grand standard or consensus.

Re:why not do something right now? (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963810)

Other than for a warm-fuzzy feeling, what's in it for them?

Re:why not do something right now? (1)

Jahz (831343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964814)

Seriously, why should "these companies" do any of that. Closed systems ensure lock-in, and lock-in is basically their business. The lock-in ensures that you keep coming back, keep viewing ads, keep paying for premium upgrades, etc.

Re:why not do something right now? (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#21966940)

I dropped a for-pay service that tried to lock me in; it was great otherwise, but the lack of openness made it impossible to hook it up to other useful services. I think companies will find that that's increasingly the case.

Amazon? Choice of Information Sharing? (3, Interesting)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961584)

Does Amazon participate in this? They hold a ton of personal data whenever I make a purchase from them. Hell, whenever I sign into their site they keep track of all the items I have ever viewed.

It seems that there are so many ways for a website to get *my* data.

(a) personal data supplied (forms on their site that I fill in),
(b) friend data supplied (form on their site that my friend fills in),
(c) browsing data semi-supplied (pages on their site that I look at),
(d) 3rd party supplied data, (forms on other sites that I filled in)

If all of these data sources cannot be controlled by the end user (what gets aggregated where)... then I am going to have to find myself another Internet.

And yes, I don't like that Facebook gets personal data from 3rd Party Sites unless I specifically say they can (i.e. "Go Search Gmail for New Contacts to Add"). LinkedIn (I believe) does this search without asking you.

Facebook sock-puppetry? (3, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961666)

"Google and Facebook, two companies that hold more user data and do more with it than almost any other consumer service on the market..."
and

"These are two of the most important companies in recent history"
TWO? No. Not even close. Google sure -- they have lots of user data and are surely important in the recent history of the Web. But Facebook isn't even the biggest in its own field. Love it or hate it, Myspace still has many, many more users and much more influence. They may still be drowning in OMG Ponies!!!1! glitter, but they have the backing of one of the worlds biggest (and scariest) media empires.

Facebook is in all likelihood little more than a fad. They're not ground breaking, nor especially innovative, they are not leaders in their field (unless, maybe, you could user protest and rebellion figures).

Thus, my conclusion is that this "article" was brought to you (at least indirectly) by the Marketing Droids over at Facebook.

That said, the principle of portable data and removal of proprietary walled gardens is certainly a good thing.

facebook has the worst data policies (3, Insightful)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962112)

Basically facebook is already two-faced, so their participation in this seems like it could be a mission to slow/derail/control development. Yesterday's article on facebook banning those who use aggregators from their site (with user permission) is just one example of where facebook does one thing and demands another.

In addition to one-sided policies, facebook has a feature system that requires you to give full access to any application any of your friends is using/spamming you with--just to receive their message. Every time I get a message on that site I am required to add the application and check 4 boxes giving full access to my information (there is no middle road) in order to read the message.

Facebook's privacy functionality is completely unacceptable to me but seems okay with the huge numbers of folks adding 3 feet of application on their profiles. Sadly, I suspect facebook is not a fad, but instead a new and more obnoxious myspace with even less privacy controls--and a poorer track record.

oops. that was a rant.

------------

"To say that the backdrop is 'recession like' is akin to an obstetrician telling a woman that she is 'sort of pregnant'" -- Merrill Lynch

Re:Facebook sock-puppetry? (5, Insightful)

DiscoLizard (925782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962280)

Facebook is in all likelihood little more than a fad. They're not ground breaking, nor especially innovative, they are not leaders in their field (unless, maybe, you could user protest and rebellion figures).
Microsoft aren't ground-breaking or especially innovative, but they seem to have done alright.

Being successful isn't about being innovative and coming up with new products - it's about earning more revenue than your competition by (hopefully) providing a better service.

I think, for the moment, the quality of data available to marketers is much better on Facebook than on Myspace. It therefore seems Facebook is likely to continue to grow - as the amount of advertising dollars flowing in likewise grows.

Notice how many people put albums of photos on Facebook, compared to Myspace - it's a good indicator of whether they will stay with the service. What I've noticed is that people generally can't be bothered switching if it means going through all the hassle of setting up their photos again, even if they're prepared to set up their 'friend list' or whatever again.

Re:Facebook sock-puppetry? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963074)

The big catch with remaining with the lock in theory, is when people finally do get cranky enough to leave they leave in droves and only a minority will ever return. Basically the company seems to overnight go from a thriving power house to a bit of dead wood floating amongst the rest of the flotsam.

Examples of which are, alta vista, wired, info seek, excite, orkut and even more examples at http://www.disobey.com/ghostsites/mef.shtml [disobey.com] . So will faceboook, myspace or even google join them, possibly, the power they think they have and the more arrogant and customer abusive they become with that pseudo power the sooner the end arrives.

What is it with the web, companies become successful with a business model, get greedy and try to exploit it as much as possible, and then the market moves on and they get left behind. The is hardly a successful web site left from the original players and those that are left suffered some pretty massive market share losses before management was changed over and they started to slowly recover.

With a lot of web sites it is the customer that are actually creating them not the site administrators, lose customer mind share and they soon learn how little capital value is really in them. Real success is being able to survive for fifty or more years (with a excellent reputation with your customers), not make some short term revenue, generate enormously inflated executive bonuses and bleed a whole lot of ignorant mug investors to death when the company collapses (but then I suppose that is really not true for the modern corporate philosphy, silly me).

Re:Facebook sock-puppetry? (3, Interesting)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963224)

Notice how many people put albums of photos on Facebook, compared to Myspace - it's a good indicator of whether they will stay with the service.

Are you confusing Facebook with Flickr or Picasa? Facebook runs a Java program that spends ten minutes converting my beautiful hi-res photos to postage stamps. The results are pathetic! 50meg in 2meg out.

If you pay attention you will notice that Facebook doesn't do any heavy lifting on their servers. They leave that to the ap writers, and even so, the service was grinding to a halt in December. They'll have to reinvent their infrastructure to scale and by then the world will be bored with their walled garden.

I think Facebook joining this group is too little too late. Let's see them actually make some content exportable (not that I want my postage stamp pictures back or anything).

On the other hand, nothing is new about Google joining this group. Everything is Google is exportable right now. they are already walking the walk, while Facebook is just talking the talk (and running in the other direction).

Re:Facebook sock-puppetry? (2, Insightful)

DiscoLizard (925782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964538)

Are you confusing Facebook with Flickr or Picasa? Facebook runs a Java program that spends ten minutes converting my beautiful hi-res photos to postage stamps. The results are pathetic! 50meg in 2meg out.


The point of hosting photos on Facebook is not to be able to display high-res images, but to share 'good enough' photos with friends.

Facebook has no need whatsoever to keep your original photo - as you've pointed out, picasa and flickr already fill that space.

I don't keep my RAWs, TIFFs or PSDs on Facebook, I upload 800px jpegs that my friends might actually want to look at. If they want a larger version, I can direct them to my flickr or send it to them direct.

Let me fix that summary for you .. (0, Flamebait)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962184)

Google and Facebook join forces to sell your data for money.

Re:Let me fix that summary for you .. (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963958)

The poster is modded Flamebait but how long till that comes to past? Is anyone here really naive enough to believe that in 5, 10, or 20 years every bit of data that Google has collected won't be sold to marketers? Maybe that data won't be super useful because Google will have unlinked users from their searches, but don't think for one second that do no harm will last forever.

Data Alliance (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963000)

I don't think TFA is being fair in its language when describing the possibilities of the DataPortability Workgroup becoming "walled-garden data-horders" or "truly open platforms". It somehow implies that the Alliance is more capable of governing the organization in a way that allows for an open trading of information. I'll let them know that our use of the Goblin Zeppelin technology is much more cost-effective and flexible than their under-ground tram system between Stormwind and Ironforge.

Oh, they meant data-hoArders?

Concerned Blood Elf
Silvermoon City
Quel'Thalas

I'm reminded of Mark Pilgrim. (3, Insightful)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21963970)

As Mark Pilgrim said [diveintomark.org] , "Praising companies for providing APIs to get your own data out is like praising auto companies for not filling your airbags with gravel." It's depressing that this isn't all a given.

Re:I'm reminded of Mark Pilgrim. (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21966906)

Yes, but you can always remove your data from Facebook, for example... and put it somewhere else. Can you fill your airbag with gravel and put it back?

Facebook, Plaxo at odds over data portability (1)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21964100)

Has anyone read "The Scoble scuffle: Facebook, Plaxo at odds over data portability" (http://www.news.com/8301-13577_3-9839474-36.html [news.com] ); why would Facebook join this, if they are doing something else like in the aforementioned story which I think you should all read!

Re:Facebook, Plaxo at odds over data portability (1)

sciurus0 (894908) | more than 6 years ago | (#21966014)

That's old news, it made it to the front page [slashdot.org] here. Facebook is probably joining DataPortability.org because of that brouhaha.

Stallman has the hoarders pegged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21964496)

Hoarders may get piles of money,
That is true, hackers, that is true.
But they cannot help their neighbors;
That's not good, hackers, that's not good.


One little-noted consequence of this move is that Google and Facebook are now optimally positioned to help their neighbors -- they are no longer bad (i.e. "not good").

and ! (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21965288)

I wonder what would be M$'s take on this issue of data portability !

Good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21965632)

Finally I would be able to move my fake profiles with ease .. heh heh

hehe (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#21966028)

It's easy to advocate open data standards when you believe it will allow hordes of new customers to abandon your competitors offerings and flock to your products.

Actually, this is probably why MS does not go for them.  If they really believed in the quality of their products, they would be a sincere advocate of open standards.

Nice presentation on the subject (1)

seaton carew (593626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21966868)

I know this is a bit old, but Dick Hardt's presentation at OSCON 2005 [identity20.com] is well worth checking out - and seemingly just as relevant today.

Bonus points for the "Lawrence Lessig" presentation style too... :-)

Not to be pedantic, but... (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21968202)

... does this mean that if I'm on Orkut, I'll be able to add a friend whose on Facebook, and interact with them flawlessly? If not, then this is just a distraction to what social networking should look like [sourceforge.net] .
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