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Data Portability Archive
The New York City Council Committee on Technology will hold another open discussion later this month. This time the session will discuss open data standards for city data. From the city announcement, “This bill, Introduction 029-2010 (formerly Intro. 991-2009), is an effort to increase government transparency and facilitate easier access to public data. Beyond the ‘good government’ benefits of this legislation, the bill will also unlock City data to enable web developers and entrepreneurs to interact with City government in new and unforeseen ways. Data published under this legislation will be readable by any computer device, whether that is a laptop or a phone, for innovative developments. This Gov 2.0 inspired transparency legislation, targets application developers, startups, small businesses, and academics with the ultimate goal of strengthening the connection between government and the public, while re-energizing the small business-tech sectors.”
“Furthermore, the data requirements of Int. 991 would publish data in formats allowing the tech community to interact with City government in a new and exciting manner. Just imagine looking at a restaurant’s ratings (and violations) on your computer or mobile device based on your search or GPS location. On the academic side, students can research legislation and statistics instantly. Open access to information ensures government accountability to provide the most detailed and user-friendly data format, while maintaining user privacy. Essentially, government transparency generates greater collaboration between the people and the government, as it fosters awareness for the local community.”
The group should talk with the MTA about their efforts to pull in developers and how they are handling open data. I think the MTA is doing a great job in this area and there’s really no reason for the city to spend the time to “discuss” when the city could spend the time to “do”.
The discussion will take place at 250 Broadway which is next to City Hall on June 21. You can find out more details along with the links to apply to testify on the city council blog.
Here’s hoping more comes out of this discussion than the one I sat through late last year discussing how the city can help tech startups.
Apologies in advance for a semi-technical post on a Friday night but I think it’s a topic worth discussing. Over the past few months I’ve noticed more and more sites that are copying pieces of content from one social service and placing it into another social service or blog/website. Is this a good idea?
If I post a message on Twitter, it is instantly copied to my Friendfeed account. If I delete that twit message, it is not removed from Friendfeed. I selected to have Friendfeed read and aggregate my Twitter account so the behavior makes sense on the display side. Since Friendfeed can read and write to Twitter, can’t they just read the current status of messages?
I’ve also noticed more blogs sucking in content from Twitter and Friendfeed. It’s a smart move for the blogs because it makes for more monetizable content and can also make a blog appear more active. Some blogs appear to be scraping the content on their own, some are using comment aggregation services like Disqus. I asked Disqus about their social comment aggregation and was told that they store the aggregated comments on Disqus’ servers. Unlike Friendfeed where I specifically told them to aggregate my content, I didn’t authorize my comments to be aggregated on other blogs, etc. And with regards to Disqus, when I make a comment on Twitter or Friendfeed that is scraped back to the Disqus database, I don’t believe that it’s placed into my Disqus account. This makes it even harder for me to manage. Of course I have practically zero recourse for the blogs that scrape friendfeed/twitter directly.
My take is that it’s fine to display content from other social services but it should be a display only — not/never a store and retain. This way if the content creator decides to delete or edit the content, the updated version will be the one displayed across the Web.
Perhaps this is a data portability topic?
As more social aggregation services pop up and blogs look for more content to monetize, I believe this issue will become a hot topic this year.
DandyID is a new Rhode Island-based startup that the founders say is, "a one-stop shop for data collection and portability." They provide a suite of tools to manage your online identity. They support over 300 sites and developers can pull data from their service via the API. It’s almost like a social OpenID as you can use your DandyID to register on services that are setup as partners.
The partner sites can also use the DandyID API to find other friends on each network based on their DandyID profile. Certainly sounds more interesting than say the "defaults" on Twitter.
I had a chance to meet with DandyID co-founders Sara Czyzewicz and Arron Kallenberg — check out our video below. They also discuss the API contest where developers can win a bunch of prizes by creating an interesting build on top of DandyID.
The DataPortability group held an open nomination period to elect the first DataPortability steering group. Twelve people stepped forward and since the group was set to hold 12, no election was necessary. Here are the new DataPortability steering group members in alphabetical order:
– J. Trent Adams
– Daniela Barbosa
– Elias Bizannes
– Brady Brim-DeForest
– Steven Greenberg
– Brett McDowell
– Drummond Reed
– Steve Repetti
– Chris Saad
– Christian Scholz
– Steve Williams
– Phil Wolff
Looks like an intelligent set of folks. Check out all of our DataPortability coverage.
Last night I was a guest on Aaron Brazell’s TechnosailorTV. We spoke mainly about Twitter and other social networks over the 40-minute discussion. One of the topics I brought up is what I call the "friend suitcase". The idea is simple – a person develops friendships (real friends) over time on all of the different social networks. Whether it’s MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Pownce, Plurk, Jaiku, Driftr, Yelp, Brightkite, Toluu, etc., we’ve all met people we consider friends.
Once a person moves into friend status with me, I do my best to get them into my suitcase. I guess it’s my form of data portability. My suitcase contains the information for my friends that is outside any social network. It typically includes email addresses, snail mail addresses, phone numbers and instant messaging accounts. Email is still the main form of contact with most people and so it’s important that I can contact my friends via email when needed. Sure Twitter or Facebook is good, but email is almost 100% and the likelyhood that’s going down is near zero.
With all of the talk about Twitter’s potential death over the past few days, the idea of the friend suitcase becomes even more important. So many times we’ve said, "what happens if x dies, how will we find our friends" — the answer is the friend suitcase. When I need to get a hold of a friend in an emergency situation, I sure don’t want to see a fail whale.
Once data portability becomes the norm and users can select to share the data above, then filling my suitcase will become much easier. I don’t see these exporting options becoming the norm for at least the next 12-18 months.
Do you have a suitcase? If so, what pieces of information do you store in it? If not, do you assume that your friends will find you on the next social network?
By now we’ve all read the recent data portability announcements by Google (Friend Connect), MySpace (Data Availability) and Facebook (Facebook Connect) to extend social functionality outside of their walls to any website.
Since these announcements were made I’ve been asked for my opinion about what it means to web publishers, the market and KickApps. I believe all three will be useful but the key point if you’re a publisher is to what degree do YOU want and need to own YOUR site’s audience’s’profile data and activities data. This will dictate how you use or don’t use any of the three.
At the highest level, core to every publisher is its brand, editorial content/voice and relationship with its audience. As the web becomes more social, access by the publisher to their audience’s Profile and Social Graph (audience data and activities) becomes extremely important. Having this information becomes a powerful tool that delivers deep insight into their audience, which informs editorial programming and marketing. Crucially, it plays a huge role in delivering truly targeted advertising.
While Google, MySpace and Facebook’s initiatives allow publishers to import more data from the big social networks into their own users’ experiences which will help to seed a new niche community, the CORE piece that is missing is that they don’t empower publishers to aggregate their own membership and fully access their member’s Social Graph.
To achieve this, publishers will want control of their own community profile management, reporting and social graph engine–the heart of what KickApps provides. It’s also important to publishers that core applications (UGC, social networking, widgets, programmable video players, media management, member management), along with 3rd party apps (OpenSocial and Facebook), are also fully integrated with their members’ social graph and member data out of the box.
Net-net, I believe the data portability initiatives are a good thing for the industry. KickApps will integrate with MySpace Data Availability, Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect such that our publishers can quickly accelerate growth of their own audience by tapping into the “friends” their members already have on the big social networks. In that respect KickApps is not only the foundation of your social graph engine but is a serious accelerator for publishers looking to get the benefits of any “openness” provided by the big social networks while retaining ownership and control of their own audience and social graph data.
As always, the devil is in the details and we’ll all have a front row seat as it develops.
I’m sure the discussion around this will continue in the weeks and months to come. So far, Mike Gunderloy of Web Worker Daily’s post, “Google Friend Connect: What’s the Point?” resonates most with me as he examines this from a web publisher’s point of view. Charlene Li’s blogs about Facebook Connect and Google’s Friend Connect are also a good read, as is Stacey Higginbotham’s post on GigaOM, “Prying Open the Social Graph.”
This column was provided by Alex Blum, KickApps CEO. KickApps is a hosted, white-label platform that puts social media and online video functionality directly into the hands of every web publisher who aspires to be a media mogul and turns every web designer and developer into a social media rockstar. Check out the KickApps Web site for more information and our KickApps coverage.
Chris Saad, leader of the data portability Web site has posted a personal and internal note of thanks to the ever-growing community of Web users wanting more from their data. I’ve pasted his message below. We’ve written about DataPortability a good number of times before and believe that it’s critical that everyone owns their data and can choose how it’s used, where it’s used and when it’s used.
I just wanted to write a personal note of thanks to this community. We have all commented and made statements about "Six Months Strong" or "[Insert big vendor] joins the project]," but in all the excitement I have not had a chance to share my personal thanks.
As everyone knows by now, this project started as a very small idea by a small group of individuals who wondered out loud, "Does everyone know those cool standards could fit together?" — or "Why not create a set of best practices for implementing these standards so that all the implementations just worked" — or "Could we prove the Web really is the ultimate social network platform?"
Since that time, the project has had some very high profile wins. The result: all sorts of challenges and opportunities — the kind that comes with rapid scaling.
Challenges like messaging (are these guys all about hype and big vendors?), governance (who makes the decisions around here?), definitions (what does "data portability" really mean anyway) and egos (who the heck is this Chris Saad dude and why is he on TechCrunch and Read/Write Web so much?).
I am so proud of how, at our early flash points, and in the ensuing weeks and months, the co-founders, early participants and new faces banded together to resist the urge to "lock down"’ the project. No smoke filled rooms and exclusivity. Believe me, that would have been an easy way to go. But the tougher path is proving to be the right one for us and for our goals. I am proud of how everyone has been so welcoming of each other and has worked so hard to execute our mission while building our messaging, community and light-weight governance model. I am also proud of how much momentum we have continued to gather.
The resulting opportunities are bright indeed.
We have an opportunity to look back with respect and deference at the Standards Groups and Lobby Groups who have come before us (many of whom are still actively working on and lobbying for openness). Without their amazing ground work and ongoing technical standards work Data Portability would not and will not be possible.
We have the opportunity to look around and recognize the enormous potential we have around us. Potential reflected in the conversation we have helped to shape, in the partners we have managed to invite and the people who have joined us on the journey. This group has earned a reputation for being the most diverse, geographically disbursed and open collaboration projects of its kind. The countries, vendors, and skill sets represented here is astounding. It even feels like we have a great gender balance as well.
And we have the opportunity laying before us. A web-wide ecosystem of inter-operable applications. The beginning of a common data layer for the web.
At all times we need to be clear, however, that our work is to shine a light on the others around us who are at the front lines, to encourage openness and transparency in the community and in the final best practices and manage the expectations of end-users.
I’d like to thank those who have been supportive of the project from the beginning. You have made it happen. I am simply the most visible part of a very, very big team of people who really deserve all the credit – including YOU. Thank you, too, for your personal support and friendship. You have made this fun as well!
I’d also like to thank the loyal opposition, the critics and even the detractors. They have helped us refine our vision and forced us to re- commit to our vision each step of the way.
I look forward to continuing to work with you all to tighten the bolts on the wiki, spread the message and work throughly on our first major deliverable – the DataPortability Technical Best Practices.
Co-Founder and Chairperson