10 May 2010

Facebook future

Recent articles on the hopes of an open/open source Facebook alternative:

Linked from comments in the articles, several alternatives are mentioned (alpha-ordered):

  • adelph.us - Appears to be more of an initiative promising use of open protocols
  • Appleseed - Open, decentralized
  • BuddyPress - WordPress plugin
  • Diaspora - Decentralized (no single company serving up content), aggregated (combines your existing accounts in a similar manner as FriendFeed), granular control of content visibility (your boss won't see your party pics)
  • Get6d - Open, decentralized
  • OneSocialWeb - Open, decentralized
  • Peerscape - FireFox extension
  • Tonido - Access personal information via p2p with no central server, cf. Opera Unite
  • tribe.net - Discussion groups with some social networking aspects
  • Unite - The Opera browser acts as a web server allowing you to share private file with specific people
  • Xobni - Bridge Outlook contacts with other systems

The building blocks have been available for a while in the form of email+blog+IM+NNTP with more elaborate image and video sharing achievable using Flickr and YouTube (or similar). I always felt that news sites and blogs should have used NNTP/Usenet servers to manage their comment systems. They use email to send messages. Why reinvent? Over the past five or so years, open protocols have flourished: activitystreams (and other microformats), OAuth and OpenID, FOAF, XMPP, RSS, PubSubHubbub, etc. These could provide the plumbing to create a more seamless social environment than patching together email and a blog and whatever. FriendFeed is an attempt to stitch the disparate sites together, but the result still feels like islands.

I'm not a fan of FB and since the privacy changes I have become less of one (less than "not"?). There's no way I'd allow them to host my personal content, and will never contribute to them. Still, most don't have my choices and most want a more passively connected, pre-populated environment as opposed to islands. Despite Facebook's momentum and user base--and as others have pointed out--MySpace was once considered unbeatable.

[ upated 12 May 2010 ]

Leo Laporte has joined the Diaspora bandwagon [ via RWW ]. Many of the RWW comments remind me of the responses to iPad criticism. It's an odd attitude that you should never talk about the flaws you see in something. Still, interesting to see so many competitors popping up in the same comments to hawk their wares.

[ upated 18 May 2010 ]

Added Appleseed and Xobni. Appleseed is already deep in development and has the same goals as Diaspora.

[ upated 27 Sep 2010 ]

Added BuddyPress, Peerscape, and tribe.net.

[ posted by sstrader on 10 May 2010 at 11:33:53 PM in Internet | tagged social network ]