Could Facebook Out Open Everyone?

There is this whole movement for data portability and single source logins currently taking place within the blogosphere. This movement has begun to gain some traction but you have two sides at the table (users and data owners); neither of which want to act in the others’ best interest. No matter where we register we still need an effective way of sorting our relationships. That is what Facebook is focusing most of their efforts on in contrast to all the other social networks. Even if Facebook were to become a tool for our desktop, it will still have the most effective image of our social graph.

While everyone is arguing about how many users their site has, Facebook is working hard at piecing together the puzzle of our individual social graphs. The theory is that if they can most accurately copy our social graph via their friend grouping features, etc, no matter what site we go to, Facebook will become the center of our social identity.

At a certain point, Facebook will pull the switch and enable websites outside of Facebook to query their database and get our friends’ data. Everytime you register for a site you can enter your Facebook email or id and it will immediately notify you about which friends have registered for the new site. The platform in turn is simply the first step to Facebook completely opening. Users will continue to add applications just as they will continue to register for other sites.

Will external sites be able to copy Facebook’s social data if they open up? Not at all. Users will have an internal switchboard just as they do with Beacon to control what sites have access to our information. At any point we will be able to turn off access or turn on access. While this is still just a dream I am confident that soon we will see this become a reality. Facebook will be forced to open up in the near future. Users may not have complete ownership of their social graph but Facebook will at least enable them to extend it to other sites.

We may ultimately end up seeing OpenID versus Facebook. Do you think Facebook will take the next step and open up the social graph?