Or at least a more well known man than I: Tim O’Reilly (the man credited with coining the term “web 2.0”, which should put me right off him, but I’ll get over that) is less than impressed with OpenSocial. And why is he less than impressed? If I understand his post correctly, it is because OpenSocial fails to do exactly the things I wanted it to in my post on the subject:
- Single data entry
- (User) Control over the flow of information
This may be a case of data and solution architects having requirements that the application functionality can’t deliver. But that doesn’t mean that the requirements are wrong or should go away. So we continue to wait.
Here’s what I think should be possible: I should be able to create a MySpace page, a Bebo account and a Facebook account and synchronise the information between them all- after all I have one date of birth, why do I need to enter it multiple times. But then maybe I don’t mind my friends knowing my date of birth (on Facebook) but I object to anyone knowing how old I am simply by looking at my MySpace page.
We are facing the single biggest issue facing Web 2.0: Identity Management. How to manage who can see what information? And I am not even talking about what the company that stores the information does with it, this is simply who can actually see it on their screen.
Smart people are making progress in this area (too many mention them all but Pamela Dingle knows her stuff, and so do all her friends). In particular the recent announcement that Google have created an open API: OpenSocial that will allow developers to share their applications on multiple platforms. This may help to solve the problem of duplicating information or the privacy issue may kill it stone dead. As the initiative only went live yesterday it is a bit too early to call, but unless there is user control of what information is shared, we have open a real big can of worms.
So, not only are we facing the traditional challenge of how to enter information once, how to ensure that functionality is not duplicated etc etc there is the horrible spectre of identity theft as well. And no, I don’t have any answers.