Use Cases and a Video

There are still representatives of companies joining the Data Portability Working Group. And while this is not bad at all, the working group is still struggling working out a strategy. It has to make sure that the current hype about all things regarding data portability won’t just end in talk. It has to further progress. A good sign are use cases of data portability defined by Christian Scholz on his blog first and then transferred to the working group’s Google Groups page. This is a really good start.

If you still don’t know what data portability is all about I recommend watching this video by Michael Pick of Smashcut Media.

DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.

Announcements, Rumours, Euphoria

This week we have seen a slew of announcements and rumours regarding data portability and OpenID. Let’s summarize quickly:

This is all great and I stick to my initial euphoria but somehow I am reminded of last year when everyone and their mother made announcements to adopt OpenID. Just talk! Also let’s put things in perspective. is a working group and everyone can join one. Also it doesn’t mean that every company who sends representatives will have to implement the results of months and at worst years of talks and work. Most members of the working group won’t decide what their companies will actually do; they have bosses to ask. And lawyers. Yes lawyers. If the working group can agree on technical details there will be privacy questions to solve. And I guess that will be tricky considering especially European laws.

Will things change when Google, IBM, and VeriSign join the OpenID Foundation? Google has made first steps towards OpenID by enabling OpenID comments on blogging platform Blogger. VeriSign is already an OpenID provider and if I’m not mistaken IBM folks helped finalizing the OpenID Intellectual Property Rights policy. It’s not clear what it meant if those companies joined the foundation. Basically it’s support of OpenID because the foundation was formed

to help promote, protect and enable the OpenID technologies and community. This will entail managing intellectual property, brand marks as well as fostering viral growth and global participation in the proliferation of OpenID. The OIDF will not dictate the technical direction of OpenID; instead it will help enable and protect whatever is created by the community.

And Flickr – a Yahoo! property – becoming an OpenID provider? Well, that might be news actually. But let’s wait until it is announced officially. Until then relax and hope for the best. šŸ˜‰

Google and Facebook Join DataPortability Working Group!


Wow, I admit I never thought this would happen: Google and Facebook are joining! This simply means that two of the biggest brands on the internet are joining a working group to overcome walled gardens, silos, basically let our own data, our social graph become independent of specific social networks.

The recent Scoble/Facebook/Plaxo brouhaha made me think this could be a backlash to social network portability, simply because privacy rules were broken and it could work as the perfect argument against social network portability. But actually this announcement is great, even more so that Joseph Smarr of Plaxo is also involved. Yahoo as well?

I don’t want to be too enthusiastic, though. Nothing has been achieved yet and there is the possibility that the big companies start controlling that group (however Google’s representative is Brad Fitzpatrick which is a good sign) and hamper progress.

Nevertheless this is a great day! šŸ™‚

[via Read/Write Web]

DiSo: WordPress as a Social Network?

Now that I have deactivated my Facebook account I am looking for a decent social network. Of course, I could become more active on MySpace and revive my account there but quite frankly, I am more inclined to deleting that account as well because I hate it. Plaxo is a possible solution but not perfect in anyway.

But what should be core features of a social network I’d use? Well, actually that’s not very difficult to answer: It should be as open as possible, letting me import and export my contact list, my profile data, if possible my attention data (events I attend, Twitter posts, music I listen to,…) and maybe other cool stuff I am currently not thinking about. Though everyone who has been facing a similar problem knows that it’s not easy to find a suitable network.

My Blog = My Social Network?

But I run a weblog. Isn’t a blog a social app? Communicating with people around the world? So why not turn it into a social network or at least a hub for all my social activities on the net which could be leveraged by other apps? My blogroll is already marked up with XFN values where applicable, people can subscribe to my OPML file (currently it’s hosted on BlogBridge because it updates automatically when I make changes to it, though I could host it on this server as well), and even have access to two APML files. The first one includes my Twitter posts, tracks scrobbled to, events I am attending and much more (hosted on Engagd); the second one combines categories and tags used on this blog (thanks to Matthias Pfefferle’s efforts). Also my contact information is marked up as an hCard.

It is a start, I guess, but surely not enough.


Chris Messina and Steve Ivy probably had similar thoughts when they launched their new project called DiSO. DiSo (=distributed social networking concepts) is an

umbrella project for a group of open source implementations of these distributed social networking concepts.

They want to combine efforts and develop plugins and tools which help make blogging platform WordPress a basis for social network portability. WordPress is just a start, though; those tools could be migrated to other platforms as well. And everyone who is familiar with Chris’ and Steve’s work knows that OpenID, microformats and OAuth will be integral parts of those efforts. Will Norris who developed the OpenID plugin for WordPress has joined them already which is good to see because there is no need to develop new tools and plugins when there are good ones available already.

Too many Projects?

I applaud efforts like DiSo. However similar projects have been launched or discussed already (, Brad Fitzpatrick’s paper on the social graph, the social network portability mailing list,…). That might become confusing to some people because they could lose track of who is developing what.

Also it should be noted that only some geeks will profit from these kind of efforts. Most people don’t run a blog (yet?).

Facebook Deletes Data?

Did I wrong Facebook? Maybe. Facebook has replied to the accusation it was storing user data even if users weren’t logged in to it while being on a Beacon affiliated site. It says that data was deleted from its servers. However should I trust Facebook (again)?

Why has Travelocity not started using Beacon yet? Why has Overstock suspended it? Beacon has become a PR disaster for Facebook. It should have made its policy on storing (and deleting) data clear earlier. Also that there is still no general opt-in rather than opt-out of Beacon is still questionable. To put it bluntly, I am not convinced anymore that the company is able to manage privacy concerns properly. Not now, not in the future.

Why can’t users delete their accounts; they can only be deactivated. Facebook even explains that users can log in later with their username and password to reactivate accounts. This means that all data is still on its servers: mini feed, contacts, profile data, and what have you. I think that’s really personal data which shouldn’t be on a company’s server anymore when users decide to leave. What is happening with this data in the meantime?

[via Henry Blodget]