Proving again my theory that vendors dabbling in a new frontier don't want to miss a news cycle, MySpace has launched its own data portability effort a couple business days after the launches of Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect. Dave Winer and Om Malik call these feature wars.
It's interesting to me because MySpace announced Data Availability before Facebook Connect and Friend Connect in May. The effort is coming to life today as the more comely named MySpaceID.
Like Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect, launched within hours of each other last Thursday, MySpaceID lets users use their MySpace profile data to access partner sites. MySpaceID is part of the larger MySpace platform effort, now called MySpace Open Platform, which includes the MySpace Application Platform and Post-To MySpace.
MySpaceID has been implemented within AOL, Flock, Eventful, Flixster, Yoono and others, with Vodafone and Netvibes joining today as partners ahead of MySpace's original launch partners of eBay, Twitter and Yahoo. The big mobile partner in Vodafone brings some interesting possibilities in mobile social networking to mind.
More impressive to me is that MySpace is built on OpenSocial, OAuth and OpenID, as well as Google Friend Connect, "to better cater to the long tail of the development community." Here is where I think Google and MySpace can make a dent: by banding together.
You can't knock Facebook's reach of 130 million, but Google and MySpace could get enough people who loathe Facebook and the proprietary position it stands for to form a formidable one-two punch. ReadWriteWeb's Rick Turoczy agrees.
Unfortunately, I keep reading that Facebook Connect is relatively simple while MySpaceID is just flat-out hard to implement for nondevelopers. Max Engel, who oversees MySpaceID, told AP that blogs and other small sites with limited technical help probably will find it easier to use Friend Connect.
Indeed, I signed in to his blog with Friend Connect by clicking a button after he set it up. It doesn't get easier than that, and ease of implementation and use is the key to any social networking endeavor.
Sigh. Do you see the incongruity problem inherent with MySpace and Google?
For MySpaceID and Google Friend Connect to provide a united front versus Facebook, they need to do it with MySpace's network of 127 million users and Google's name, brand and ease of implementation.
But If MySpaceID is too hard for sites to implement, partner sites won't implement it, which means the millions of MySpace users won't be able to tap into it. Conversely, Google has ease of use going for it, but no social network to leverage. What would seem to be two complementary services may ultimately be broken.
So, the united front is flimsy. The respective weaknesses of MySpaceID and Friend Connect may preclude them from serving as viable alternatives to Facebook.
Facebook Connect wins if, in fact, this space will even see a winner. It may be too geeky for people to truly be popular.