Monday, February 25, 2008

Social Address Book,Next Killer App!: Part I

We have heard about address book/phonebook 2.0. (Check out my Article on address book 2.0) So what is Social Address Book- A combination of web 2.0 address book and other social connect applications address book like email, IM , phonebook etc is my version of Social Address Book( aggregated social graph). Nonetheless, Address book per se has a broader dynamics than only the contacts. It could even contain URL, which is the new form of identity given to a user. Welcome to the URL world. I guess this is the key architectural decision of the semantic web. Well, gone are those days when people were identified by their names or email ids. The whole web 2.0 paradigm shift has taken precedence and has given user an identity in the internet world. I guess Tim O’Reilly had sensed the need of WEB 2.0 address book a while back .

So how does Social Address Book help consumers- From a consumer standpoint, it makes his life easier by getting all his profiles, relationship, content and media in one single interface. Imagine as a user, if you are part of different social networking platform, and at the same time have subscribed to email, IM and other blog/microblogging sites. It shall become a network fatigue for the user to keep track all his activities and his buddies on different networks. In Addition, sharing media or social data across these multiple platforms would be a daunting task. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a single interface that has all the information about me, my friends and data that was created across different communities and platforms? This shall be User’s Global Address Book (aggregating the graph, decentralization). There is so much that can be done with this Global Address Book aka Social Address Book. Freedom from the walled garden. (How I wish!) Is this really possible. Well, the technology already exist, there are lot of initiates in this arena that is gaining momentum. Worthy of mention are Data Portability and OpenId Open ID. Google’s OpenSocial and Social Graph API is by far the most promising initiative in this direction. Theses groups/forums are playing a bigger role in shaping the Social Data management. ( Check out Chris Saad blog for more juice about data portability)

Some of the advantages of Social Address Book:
• Consumer has more control on his/her social graph data.
• Single Sign on process for different applications or Social Networking sites.
• Easy access to social data from a unified interface.
• Easy to share, spread and publish user social data across different platforms..
• User has an option to host his social graph.
• View status updates, media streaming, photo uploads, Activity streaming and more from a single unified interface.
• Tracks buddies on different networks from a single interface. ( Real time location of buddies possible provided buddies use GPS enabled handsets )
• Link your profiles from different social network and group friends
• Choice of multiple communication apps that can be easily integrated with Social Address Book

So what is the biggest hurdle for Social Address Book? Well, Walled garden approach by most of the social networking sites and social applications. Content is exclusively tied up with the social network. In fact, we have seen this within the IM world. (Except for some third party hack apps like Gaim and trillion, I don’t think we have a commercially available unified single interface chat messenger, that can be used to send message across different IM servers). In addition, these social networking sites block interaction with the outside internet. User from one social networking cannot interact with a user on a different social networking platform. For e.g., a user from MySpace cannot interact directly with a user from facebook. I guess the fundamental business model of these social networking and social application doesn’t allow distributed model.

I like what Jeff Jarvis says:

The internet doesn’t need more social networks. The internet is the social network. We have our identities, interests, reputations, relationships, information, and lives here, and we’re adding more every day. The network enabler that manages to help us tie these together to find not just connections or email addresses or information or songs but people — friends, colleagues, teachers, students, partners, lovers — across this open world, that will be the owner of the biggest network of them all

Stay tuned for part II of Social Address Book, I will discuss some of the early birds that support social address book.

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Anonymous said...

Data portability BS*. No social networking sites are going to open up their platform for others to suck in data. Google is doing so as it knows how to milk money out of these suckers

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