Thursday, November 08, 2007

Applications or data?

When I look at Facebook and the huge amount of applications I can add to my profile, I tend to get lost. Not on my own profile page, which has a fairly limited amount of applications, but when I see other pages with 50 or more applications added. What is this good for? Far from wanting to judge other people by the kind of applications they add (e. g. how active is your sex life), I can only speak for myself. Doing so, I would say that I am focused on those applications which will display my interests (music I listen to, books I read, reviews I wrote elsewhere, postings). At least, this is what I would consider the personal benefit for other people looking at my profile. They will probably not care as much about the services I use, but rather on what output they produce. (On a side note, I really do not know how many applications I am missing because there are just too many. But this also applies to the desktop computer world). But is Facebook really the social network operating system?

Another approach is Google's OpenSocial initiative, a set of APIs to integrate multiple social services. Personally, I am registrated at so many services that I would rather manage my profile and network at one cental place. But this would mean not only access to the data, but also their full integration - which OpenSocial does not seem to support. Nevertheless, I still hope that I will be proven wrong so developers will be able to implement applications integrating data from multiple sources and services which will be of true benefit for the user as they will be able to take my full context into account.

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