MySpace backs Google's anti-Facebook play
And Bebo too
Well, Google's OpenSocial initiative includes a big name after all.
MySpace has embraced the OpenSocial APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), a means of building applications for all sorts of social networking sites that aren't Facebook.
Oh, and Bebo has joined the mix as well.
Obviously, OpenSocial was an attempt to counter Facebook Platform, the API that Facebook served up to developers last May. But none of the participating social networks could even approach Facebook's massive popularity.
Then the official OpenSocial press release arrived this afternoon - and it came from both Google and MySpace. It said the companies were "joining forces" to launch the new service. MySpace wasn't just participant. It was "spearheading" the initiative, right alongside with Google.
When we spoke to two other OpenSocial members earlier today, both Ning and LinkedIn described Google as the project's sole ringleader. "Google has been leading the charge, but at the same time they've been extremely open to feedback and different ideas," Ning CEO Gina Bianchini told us.
But now Google and MySpace are saying they've been in talks about this sort of social networking standard for "about a year",
Whatever the circumstances, the OpenSocial initiative now includes the world's most popular social networking site. Not to mention Bebo, whose name was tucked into the bottom of today's press release. According to research firm Hitwise, Bebo recently overtook eBay as the most searched for brand in the UK. And it has likely overtaken MySpace as Britain's top social networker. ®
'Jealousy' and shedding of the shell
I agree that facebook is the better of the two, and I also agree with most of the criticisms mentioned here. Just a few more points:
1) Notification of updated content seems to be scattered all over the place. As far as I can tell I have to load at least three different pages to see what my friends are up to. What's that about?
2) How many 'wall' apps do we need? (Wall, funwall, superwall, hot...), how many 'poke' apps? They all do more or less the same thing, and worst of all, none of them are compatible with each other!!! If facebook app developers can't even be given some kind of incentive to share their data models, what hope is there for an open mashup standard? Oh yes and it is certainly Facebook that should be providing that incentive, because casual developers are too 'jealous' to have other things to think about.
Well, I discovered that you can post youtube videos with the default 'posted items' app. Works just as well, doesn't require anyone to install anything, or get spammed.
3) Most of the apps are crap. They resemble each other too much without being compatible in any way. Fatal flaw. The first thing they do (and continue to do) is encourage you to spam your friends with requests to be assimilated into their own borg/hive/leper colony. They are mostly utterly banale. (Sticky Notes, Glitter, anyone?)
Also... why must I install a "Nietzsche Quotes" app. and then a separate "Kierkegaard Quotes" app. and then a still third "Mighty Boosh Quotes" app. Have none of these developers got the vision to make even a generic 'Quotes' app which could scrape quotes from the thinker(s) of your choice from the myriad quote aggregator sites on the web??? Instead we're offered an almost endless parade of one-trick ponies. This is a very unsophisticated way of viewing mashup content. Nobody is thinking bigger than what they can see through their shirt cuff buttonhole, it seems.
4) Complaints and feature requests are poorly handled. If you're lucky you get an impersonal automated reply. Example: The relatively popular 'Compare People' app has recently started sending bogus notifications to its users, despite promising anonymity. "I" notified someone I barely know that I think he has 'the best hair' out of all my 'friends', and I had made no such rating. I wonder whether people receive non-anonymous notifications from family members announcing that they are the one "I'd most like to sleep with". Eurgh... Could be tricky to explain. My efforts to complain about this (and other issues) have yielded absolutely no comment or feedback from those responsible... Facebook itself needs to be much more reflexive and responsive to user feedback about third-party apps, and the third-party app developers, well they all need to read the cluetrain manifesto too.
5) Facebook needs to introduce asymetrical 'friendships' (boss-employee, teacher-student, guru-devotee etc.) it's utterly ridiculous that I have 'been to school' with some of my students, and 'worked together' with some others, just because I can't specify the correct relationship type.
6) Sloppy digital rhetoric: Why does the button say 'Ignore'? Surely 'Decline' is more polite. I don't feel entirely good about having to 'ignore' my ingenuous friends who send me dumb app requests, but I would happily 'decline' their invitations. These might seem like small details, but there are irritating quirks of rhetoric like this over the whole facebook site, including the infamous 'is' before the status line which fails miserably in languages other than English, and even in English, forces a fair amount of verbal gymnastics just to express things like "I've just had six beers" (Must be recast as "is drunk, after six beers" or - Irish style - "is after drinking six beers").
7) I like facebook, but I get the impression that it (like HTML) was let out of the lab too early. It's fine as a Harvard University intranet, but it's not ready to be the killer app for global social networking, and they'll most likely lose the inevitable 'war' against google/myspace if they don't brush up. There are too many rough edges; Too many things just not thought through properly; Too many 'lucky accidents' which conceal the fact that the critter has to shed its young shell in order to grow a more adult carapace.
Facebook promises a lot and delivers maybe 1% of its promise, mostly because of the many small design flaws and sloppy details multiplied together. The best thing it has going for it is the open API, (which is no longer a unique selling point) and the way it enforces a sober look-and-feel, with some well-designed pseudo-ajax effects. Thing is, those advantages will be worth nothing once google/myspace get their sh*t together.
Oh yeh, codebox is a great app! I also recommend WikiMono.
"Networking" sites in general
As well as the "Hey, install CRAPAPP V2.1 on your facebook... all the cool people are doing it" type messages, I also detest the fact that some people don't understand these things ARE JUST MEANT TO BE A BIT OF FUN!
I doubt the creators of these sites sat down and said "Y'know, I think we could revolutionise people's lives and give them a whole new way of communicating!". Yet, on a daily basis I am subject to nagging from those friends who have time to fritter away posting stuff on my "wall", then demanding responses, then when I actually see them in person they demand to know why I haven't written back on their "wall".
If you want to converse, come and see me. Or phone me. Or e-mail me... Call a video conference even. It takes an hour to exchange information on Facespace, Mybo or Bebook that could be discussed verbally in literally one minute.
Facebook is Safer
Facebook is actually safer than MySpace though. People can only look at your Facebook page if you've accepted them as friends plus you can only allow certain people to only see a limited profile if you want. If people are accepting strangers as friends then they are just being silly but people like myself only accept people who I know.