Interesting. Only a few days ago I wrote about possible competitors to facebook, and now I find two posts on techcrunch that relate to my post plus the discussion I had with Mr. White.

The first one is about start pages like pageflakes and netvibes actually offering a social networking functionality:

Until today Pageflakes users could create pages for their own use, and/or make public pages called Pagecasts. The content was and continues to be completely up to the user. Now, however, each user also gets a profile page and can add other Pageflakes users as friends. Effectively, Pageflakes is now a social network, and users can connect based on common interests.

The second one is about the walled gardens of social networks and how this might be overcome, citing the new Plaxo Pulse as an example.

Plaxo Pulse ties together disparate services from across the web unlike the news feed, which ties together only Facebook’s content. While Plaxo hasn’t launched a platform to a crowded hall of over-eager developers, they have quietly focused on linking to existing applications on the web. Currently the provide a single interface for syncing with the social feeds, email, contact, and calendaring applications business people care about. It’s no long stretch to see this developing into even deeper integration with more web applications.

This relates to this comment of Mr. White (plus his subsequent comment) about introducing a protocol layer. Something similar is already on its way by initiatives such as the OpenID Directory.



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