One of the big bugaboos with social networking sites has been the difficulty getting your data out and into another site. That's all changing now that the big 3 (not Ford, Chevy and Chrysler, but Google, MySpace and Facebook) have announced within a week of each other new services to give users the ability to "control" their data. Friend Connect, which is expected to launch Monday, "will be a set of APIs for Open Social participants to pull profile information from social networks into third party websites," according to TechCrunch.
This comes on the heels of Myspace announcing Thursday its Data Availability service and Facebook announced Facebook Connect. This has huge ramifications to both the marketplace and the developer community. As a developer of Open Social Applications (See mediapops on Myspace here) this solves a huge issue on how to extend the social application experience. We are working on a few new apps that will significantly benefit from this new API. For users I am interested to see how much they take from the walled gardens and share data to other sites. While I think this is very different from Facebook's failed "Beacon" ad model, there will undoubtedly be folks trying to take advantage of users data. What's really cool is that this follows the normal model of the Social Web, nothing stays in one place, it is shared, annotated, modified and more by an ever growing network.
Your social universe just expanded.