In a move thats been expected for a while, Facebook has just enter the lifestream aggregation space (alongside Plaxo Pulse, FriendFeed, and a list of companies that grows nearly every week). Out the door, they are only supporting handful of external sources (Flickr, del.icio.us, Picasa, and Yelp), but they say many more are on the way.
But I see this as a very natural evolution, as we make our way from the era of “walled gardens” over to the open world of the Social Web. In that world, the user will be at the center, owning their own data and content, with the freedom to take it with them wherever they go. In that ecosystem, their will be a service layer that connects the user to myriad socially-enabled sites. That Social Web sevice layer will have three main components:
– Identity provider
– Social graph provider
– Content aggregator
Some players, like Facebook and Plaxo, will likely provide all three services, while others might focus on one or two. For example, Clickpass and Yahoo! are clearly playing in the “identity provider” space already, with consumer-friendly implementations of OpenID. The social graph provider space is the one that doesn’t yet exist, but is at the core of the vision for “data portability.” Expect interesting developments there in the coming months.
Other coverage include’s Mashable’s Paul Glazowski, here, and a nice piece by CNET’s Caroline McCarthy, which raises the interesting question of whether there is a revenue arrangment involved. Interesting question…