OpenSocial: Google's Answer To Facebook?
The NY Times today publishes an article announcing Google's answer to Facebook (found via Tara Hunt). It would have been announced tomorrow evening but the story leaked early. Is this the announcement that had been promised for next week by Google, or is it the first stage of a larger set of developments to integrate more of Google's services into a social context? Marc Canter writes this is indeed the announcement planned for next week and has more to say on the subject as well. Techcrunch has more details on what it is all about.
Starting tomorrow an alliance of companies led by Google plans to begin introducing a common set of standards to allow software developers to write programs for Google's social network, Orkut, as well as others, including LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning. I am intrigued to see Ning, LinkedIn and Friendster in there, don't care much about Plaxo which I have always viewed as a spam source to be frank.
OpenSocial is to be the name of this initiative, which is to be compatible across all platforms.
Of course 'setting a standard' is not an easy thing to do. Calling it a standard does not make it so. Also because MySpace and Meebo e.g. have announced similar initiatives after Facebook opened up their API's to third party application developers last May. On the other hand, more companies being involved than just Google is a good sign. And we need more openness. Because we don't want to be locked into a platform. My network is not Facebook's or Google's or whoever's but mine and my buddies' network.
Also steps like these mean that finally platform's start to get that the data I put into their platforms is just a map of part of my social network and context, but it's not the network itself. (Things like Facebook saying I have 100+ friends is rubbish. They don't know how many friends I have. They know that I have acknowledged links to 100+ people in their platform, because those are the people I know that chose to hang out there)
So, although we haven't seen anything yet, I think this is another step towards a more social net for us all. Openness is now becoming the point of competition. This means that if you don't open up your platform now you're not allowed to play anymore much longer.
More on the OpenSocial API will be available from Thursday on Google's OpenSocial page. (now a 404 error)0 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
Trying Flock 1.0 Beta
In Andrea Ben Lassoued's blog Schlau und Schön? I read about her experiments with Flock:
I hadn't looked at Flock since it first came out during the 2nd ever BarCamp in Amsterdam in 2005, so I thought I'd have another look.
Flock describes itself as a social browser, allowing you to keep track of your different buddies in Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc right in your browser. It also contains a handy Web Clipboard to drag and drop stuff you want to blog about to, and can automatically post any bookmark you make to delicious etc.
As Nancy notes in the comments over at Andrea's blog Flock seems a very heavy load on my laptop's CPU. Writing this text I hear the ventilator gearing up considerably, and every now and then the text I am typing is slow to appear.
Flocks looks slick and nice, it offers some good functionality. But it seems like it's maybe trying too much at the same time.
I am blogging this from inside Flock, adding different snippets from its Web Clipboard into this posting.
Now let's see how this looks up on the blog
EDIT: Flock screwed up the paragraph lay-out, wasn't able to load the categories of my blog, and adds the wrong source attribution to the quote I added from Andrea's blog. (It quotes the Flock sidebar as source!)
Blogged with Flock4 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
Companies Are Great Environments For Social Software
Even though quite a number of companies regard social media as dangerous, I think companies have in fact a lot going for them as a suitable environment for social software.
Because social software tools all work from the same principles:
1 they thrive on large volumes of data and information (Flickr and delicious e.g. only come into their own when the volume involved is big enough)
2 they thrive when existing social networks adopt the same tool (your fraternity in Facebook, Wikipedians doing wiki maintenance, your blog roll)
Social software works well given these conditions because these tools are the internet's response to the enormous volume of information the internet helped create. Social software is the answer to the internet by the internet.
The quantitative change in information availability (going from scarcity to abundance) leads to qualitative changes in our information strategies. Social filtering is one of those changed information strategies. Social software caters to social filtering.
Companies are excellent environments for social filtering.
Because they sit on large volumes of data and information, going largely unused.
Because organisations are a group of people with shared goals and tasks.
In short, companies are their own objects of sociality as well as their own user group.
An information manager of a large internationally operating Dutch company told me the other day that they had given a number of their professionals access to their business intelligence data. Because they were gathering so much data nobody really looked at for lack of good questions to ask of the dataset. The professionals put the data to good use, because they could formulate the right questions. They were adding social structures and context to the data. Basically adding social software design principles to a large volume of data.
The information manager was surprised by this, saying something like "and I have these BI specialists who never came up with this kind of use for the data".
I wasn't surprised. Throwing social relationships at large volumes of data works. We see it in our feed-readers, presence streams, yasn's, wiki's, and tag-clouds every day.
Geotagging Flickr Made Easy
Adding metadata to stuff can be a pain in your proverbial back-end. Especially if you, like me, take a lot of pictures, but do not own a camera that adds GPS coords automatically for you.
Lucky for me, the guys at Sumaato Labs (based in Hamburg, Germany) have made my life geotagging photos in Flickr a whole lot easier. Because they've built the Localize Bookmarklet
Here is how it works. You drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar (Firefox) or bookmarks (IE).
Open up a Flickr photo page.
Hit the bookmarklet.....and you'll get Google Maps right there in your Flickr page.
Search your location. And put the arrow where you want it.
Save, while adding a little description if you want.
And now the geodata is stored in three places. Under the pic, in the tags, and in the Flickr Additional Info section. Cool! Don't you just love AJAX and API's when it's used like this?
Another elegant feature: it remembers the last location you used for geotagging. Because your next picture is more likely to have been taken near there.
Oh and one more thing. I really miss the geotagging feature in Plazes for Flickr photos (as Plazes already know where I am/was, I could skip the interaction with a map.)3 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
"Metadata is what you know, data is what you don't know and are looking for."0 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
The Long List of My Distributed Self
For a presentation on on-line networking, which I described as just being visible on-line and connected while doing your work, I compiled a list of places I share digital traces.
I thought to post it here just as a reminder of how long the list is.
Blog, what I think about
Jaiku, what I am doing
Twitter, what I say I am doing
Plazes, where I am and where I was
Dopplr, where I will be
Flickr, what I see
delicious, what I read
Wakoopa, what software I use
Slideshare, what I talk about
Upcoming, where I will attend
Last.fm, what I listen to
These are the tools I actually use.
10 Comments and 1 Trackbacks | Permalink
(Linky Thinking by Roland Tanglao)
Google Buys Jaiku
I am wholeheartedly pleased for Jyri and the whole Jaiku team. For them to see their ideas not only come to live, but also to be well received. Congrats guys!
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(logo taken from the Jaiku blog)