Posted by: gregboyko | February 21, 2009

The Problem With Facebook

I’m a big Facebook fan. Facebook is the obvious best social network for most people for a couple of reasons. First, it’s hugely popular. Chances are pretty good the people you’re interested in connecting with are already on Facebook, or will have heard of it and be willing to join. Second, it’s pretty intuitive and easy to use.

But there is one major problem with Facebook: it’s a closed environment. Facebook does provide Facebook Connect, but this just doesn’t go far enough. I want to see true interoperability between my social network and the other applications and web sites/services I use. I want a unified personal status, whether I set it on Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, or Twitter. I want the option for unified contacts and calendars, with open APIs that will allow any authenticated application to participate in synchronization of this data. Bits and pieces of this are beginning to emerge, but we’re not there yet. What’s required is an open, documented, social networking platform.

I think Microsoft’s Windows Live services are our best bet for getting there. Microsoft (which is the company I happen to work for) is playing catch up when it comes to social networking and web applications in general. Large strides have been made with the most recent Windows Live release, but clearly much more needs to be done. When it comes to providing platforms, Microsoft has a pretty successful history. The only other companies (in my mind) with the capability to provide a unified platform such as what I’m envisioning are Google, and possibly Facebook.

The next five years are going to be very interesting….

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