Social Networking is a hard business and if your competitor announces something you shouldn’t be far behind at least. So Facebook today announced Facebook Connect which will allow users to connect their Facebook account to any website. This means that third party websites can give users access to their Facebook identity and their friends. They as well have an initial launch partner which is Digg.
The whole things sounds a bit one-way though and there is also no mentioning of DataPortability although they officially joined this initiative (needless to say that I am also not aware of any Facebook developer joining the conversation). As with the MySpace announcement it’s also unclear which technology is going to be used. They talk about „Trusted Authentication“ but it seems to be a proprietary extension and not e.g. OAuth.
As somehow to be expected from Facebook they go their own route. Nevertheless though it also shows that the idea of opening up is out there. It depends on the conditions on how this data can be used and what limitation will be put in place but the idea nevertheless seems to live. I would like to encourage Facebook though not to do their own thing but use open standards where possible, it can only benefit them!