Tag Archives: dataportability

microsoft & facebook – not quite what I would call data portability

So you can now add your facebook friends to your windows live (or MSN) messenger account. (You can also add your msn messenger friends to facebook). I gave it a quick test and sure enough it pulled all my contacts out of Facebook and offered me the option of adding htem to my messenger account.

One problem.

It did not differentiate between those that already have a Messenger account; those that I am already connected to and everyone else.

Basically I have to spam all my friends asking them to sign up for Live Messenger, surely Microsoft can check who has a valid account or not? I am ignoring the fact my friends could be using Yahoo Messenger (whom I can also connect to using Live Messenger) – as I assume Yahoo will not let Microsoft check for a valid account.

Another major issue, is that it also only pulls in my main email address from Facebook – not my Live messenger account which I have filled out in my profile so anyone using this would connect to me using the wrong account anyway.

Oh dear.

the integrated online experience

We need access to information at different times and in different ways – when we’re on the move we might use a mobile and at home a desktop. It is this change in circumstances and needs that devices are getting better at dealing with.

Email was one of the first devices to bridge the boundary between the desktop and the mobile. I am using Exchange at work and so a windows mobile phone works “well” at integrating the experience on the move. I haven’t been much of a fan of gmail via the mobile as yet – it currently feels a bit clunky, so I usually wait to answer personal emails when I get home unless they come to my work address but this will improve over time. It amazes me that the iphone doesn’t support exchange. It is one of the major reasons I ruled out purchasing it.

RSS is the next technology to do this and the need for this cross platform integration is stopping me moving from Google Reader. The platform works really well on both the mobile and desktop platforms. It’s all very well talking about using new platforms like Particls or fav.or.it but if it cant provide a great experience across multiple platforms then it at least needs to sync with Google Reader (or other great mobile platforms). It is now the first question I ask when I look at other RSS reader. This all comes back to dataportability. We need the ability to sync data as well as move it.

the need for data portability

Scoble has set a fire under Facebook for not letting him move his data out of their network and into another network. He has posted about it here.

Data portability (and interchange) is going to be an important part of 2008 with people using more and more services to meet their needs. Amongst the tech crowd, people seem to be using Facebook less and less and moving to specialised services like Twitter, tumblr and Flickr for “status updates”, life feeds and photos respectively. The ability to move between services can only be good for the consumer – increasing competition amongst similar services and providing better functionality. I am hoping this will allow for better attention based tools to come to the fore – Twitter is definitely better at putting quality information in front of me than the Facebook currently because of the tighter audience. Of course, if Twitter took off in the same way as Facebook then it too would suffer as it would need to prioritise or at least group messages.

There is a new group I have just joined called dataportability.org which is looking to help this happen. It seems to make sense.

I wonder if this idea could be replicated at the operating system level? It would make for more interesting competition – the ability to remove microsoft’s components and replace them with others. Is it technically feasible? It would need Microsoft to open up the OS significantly.