Yes, Bebo has joined the ranks of the larger social networks out to take your soul. Yesterday’s announcement from Bebo revealed its new Social Inbox, which not only lets you log in using their AOL and AIM credentials, but will aggregate social feeds, mail and media recommendations from a host of services including witter, Flickr, Delicious, YouTube, Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL (of course).
Having been acquired by AOL earlier this year, Bebo has been somewhat slow to make any major moves towards revolutionary feature upgrades. But seeing the open standards emerging at a quickening pace from Google, Facebook and MySpace, Bebo is sure to get in on the game, putting its own acquisition of SocialThing to work.
So with all of these networks looking to be the center of your online activity (no matter where you are on the web), who’s winning?
Facebook still seems to have the first mover advantage, having launched its Open Platform well over a year ago and gaining significant traction despite privacy concerns and an ongoing need to tweak regulations regarding third-party application access to users. With the launching of Facebook Connect, the standards for open cooperation between services and networks became far more integrated.
MySpace, on the other hand, still holds onto the highest number of users overall, and could stand to gain a great deal of cross-site and cross-network activity, especially given its recent MySpace Music endeavor which really takes advantage of its partnerships with record labels and the ability to turn MySpace into a better utilized marketplace involving recommendations and purchases.
While Google’s Open Social initiative came out with more than a few kinks to work out, the more recent Google Friend Connect seems to be better suited to Google’s existing applications and could work quite well with other platforms. That being said, Bebo’s later entrance into the social activity aggregation realm isn’t taking away from the hope that AOL could become an equally competitive offering.
The position Bebo has taken as far as its aggregating Social Inbox is concerned reminds me of an article by Emile Cambry stating that the early 2.0 start pages like Netvibes and Pageflakes should have been the first to capitalize on this current movement. So does the incorporation of such aggregation features for sharing, ease-of-use and recommendation purposes further edge out services like Netvibes or even FriendFeed? Or could these other services somehow be incorporated as SocialThing has been?