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Where is MySpace Data Availability?

So last week everything was about the word „connect“ but if you look back in time, not only have facebook connect and Google friend connect be announced a while back, there was also MySpace Data Availability. And in fact their solution was also the first to be available if not as complete as e.g. facebook connect.

The only problem these days might have been the naming. While Data Portability was more of a hype term back then and the name Data Availability seems to be choosen because of it’s similarity things at least according to ReadWriteWeb have changed now and MySpace renamed it to MySpaceID. Unfortunately I cannot find any mention of that term on the MySpace developer site (except in different context where people refer to the myspace id of a user). So it’s also unclear to me what it is supposed to be and what the source for that information is.

What is myspace Data Availability anyway?

So Data Availabilty (DA) was all about open standards because it was nothing else than the OpenSocial RESTful API. This API is a different part of the OpenSocial specification which is not about putting applications on a website which then can access data via a JavaScript interface from this website but it’s a server-to-server protocol allowing third party websites to access data from users of the original website. Of course the consent of the user is needed to export his or her information and OpenSocial solves this by using OAuth.

With this alone you could have easily build something like facebook connect like this:

  1. Clicking on a connect button on a third party site would have sent you to myspace to eventually log you in and then grant access for this third party site to e.g. access your profile data.
  2. The third party site could then access your profile and a list of your friends (without full profile though)

The only thing missing compared to what we see right now of facebook connect is the ability to post something to a user’s Activity Stream. But this is covered by OpenSocial and just not implemented by MySpace (or I cannot find it). But that shouldn’t be too hard to implement.

What are the benefits of Data Availability and why is it more open?

When implementing a Data Availability client you automatically are implementing it for any website which supports the OpenSocial RESTful API, you are not bound to just one website like you are with facebook connect. It’s a truly open standard. Even facebook could have choosen to use it ;-)

While some details probably would have to be sorted out you then could simply let the user choose to which site to connect to if just more would implement this interface.

This would not bring us to a complete open web solution as I imagine it (the control and subcription part might still be missing) but it would bring us much closer.

Why isn’t Data Availability a success?

First it’s probably because of naming but this might change now. Then it’s maybe not as a complete package as facebook connect is and there are no simple instructions on how to set it up quickly on your site (a wordpress plugin might be cool as well). Development on this product seems to have stopped after the initial launch. As mentioned above also the Activity Stream API needs to get implemented.

But anyway, all this is nothing which cannot be changed and it’s also nothing just MySpace could do. Every website with user data could implement this kind of thing and maybe do it better.

(but we might wonder though what happened to their launch partners Yahoo, EBay and Twitter as announced in May. Back then it at least seemed not that clear that DA is simply OpenSocial and in fact the things they list there are not possible with DA right now, like sharing photos or videos).

Update from the LeWeb live stream and Michael Arrington’s interviewing MySpace COO Amit Kapur

LeWeb'08 - Amit Kapur

MySpaceID seems to be nothing much different than Data Availability following MySpace’s strategy on building most thing on open standards. They are also partnering with Vodafone, Netvibes and Google.

Still no sight of MySpaceID on the website though (at least for me). But I will look into it as soon as it’s on to see if something else than the name is different.

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