Google: The Web Is Your Facebook

Here is a thought; when everyone has a blog (or something tantamount to a home base) and can easily push and pull data to applications of their choice (in a well structured web), will we even need Facebook?

Here is another thought; I have often heard people refer to Facebook as the new AOL. Despite Facebook's many open API's, are they simply, Walled Garden 2.0 trying to control as much as they can, for as long as they can?

I am beginning to think that Google's thinking is not far off from mine.

Yesterday Google announced the Contacts Data API. Here are some of the things that Google is claiming the API will do:

  • Synchronize Google contacts with contacts on a mobile device
  • Maintain relationships between people in social applications
  • Give users the ability to communicate directly with their friends from external applications using phone, email, and IM
Another important thing to note is that Google Contacts data will be available in the form of Google Data API feeds (can someone say "news feed"?). Here is how Google defines GData (or the Google Data API);

"The Google data APIs ("GData" for short) provide a simple standard protocol for reading and writing data on the web."

When you take these two components together, you can begin to get a glimpse of how Google is attempting to structure the web as an open platform for social interaction. The difference between what Facebook and Google are doing is that Google is adhering to current web standards, and third parties (including Facebook) can easily co-opt the data organized by Google's API's.

Facebook is doing the opposite. They have created a proprietary system whereby anyone can develop something for their system, but it will not necessarily be usable by the web at large (this point is changing, but it is still a proprietary language).

What This Means For Me

I have been using the term "identity syndication" a lot lately (not sure if anyone else is using it, but if not, I am happy to take credit :) ). As someone concerned with my identity and my personal data, I am more apt to use a system that allows me to own and control my data and the uses of it. I would rather have my blog be my home base (In Theory, it is Google for the win, at least long term).

What This Means For Brands

Another term I have been using a lot lately is "brand identity syndication" (same rules apply). For brands, it may be a bit simpler to set up shop in an environment that already has an audience to leverage, however this is only temporary (in my opinion). In the future brands will certainly have to spend a lot more time on their "brand identity strategy" and think a lot more about the distributed web.

What GData Can Do For You

Here are some of the current API's that you can use to make your Open Social experience richer:

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