put up his plea
for opening up social network data so that everyone could live happily ever after, I assumed it was a last-gasp effort to keep livejournal from being consumed by the myspace/facebook duopoly. But apparently, Brad was hired by google shortly before that document was published. Very quietly.
I had no idea. That, of course, puts a whole different spin on things.
Techcrunch randomly speculates
that google is planning something really major for Nov 5, when it will announce a open social network platform that third party apps can utilize. This will be a better deal than writing a facebook app because you have total control of your app instead of making it a little widget that lives inside facebook.
That sounds great. There's only one small hitch: where are the users?
Apparently google's going to leverage orkut. Wait, what? Orkut? Seriously? Orkut is apparently competitive with facebook in terms of worldwide page views, but that means nothing. It has a 100% penetration in exactly two markets: Brazil and India (and Brazilians and Indians abroad.) Everywhere else, it's a nonstarter. In particular, orkut gets clobbered by facebook in the lucrative North American and European markets, and I don't see this changing any time soon. I mean, users couldn't give a rat's ass if a social network is open or not, they go where their friends go.
Even allowing for the fact that google is probably going to open up the API to the smaller networks, I don't see it making a difference. Who's left? Friendster?
I thought they've been dying for years. Bebo?
I hear they're real popular in Ireland. That's just one step away from world domination. Livejournal?
Way too small. That leaves twitter, I guess. Should be fun writing web applications in 140 characters or less.
Nevertheless, it's early days yet in the world of social networks. I wouldn't at all put it past google to pull this off. In any case, we're no longer looking at the doomsday scenario of myspace killing off everybody else, and the world is a better place for that.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is feeling left out in the cold, and is trying to buy 5% of facebook for $500 mil, valuing facebook itself at a whopping $10 bil.
Wow. Their IPO is going to be very interesting to watch!