Is Facebook About to Open Up Even More?

Marshall Kirkpatrick just broke the story that both Facebook and Google have now joined the Data Portability workgroup. The workgroup’s is mission is to make our personal data “discoverable by, and shared between our chosen tools or vendors.” Facebook has previously refrained from enabling sites to import personal user data. Even applications on the Facebook platform are not allowed to store personal data related to users.

While joining this workgroup could be little more than a political stunt, the potential implications of what this means are enormous. Facebook has defined themselves as a leader in forward and open thinking and enabling data portability could solidify their reputation. Just a few days ago there was massive controversy surrouding Robert Scoble’s test of Plaxo’s new software that scrapes Facebook data.

Ultimately, the tool that Robert Scoble used was in violation of Facebook’s terms of service but the issue still remains unsolved. As social networking continues to proliferate, the tech luminaries will continue to fight for the data portability cause. The addition of Google and Facebook representatives to the Data Portability workgroup gives luminaries that glimmer of hope that their wishes may soon come true.

For now, I believe Facebook will remain as a walled garden. Just because these companies will attend an event that supports data portability standards doesn’t mean that they will support it. Conversely, if it’s truly what everyone wants, these businesses will eventually be forced to find a way to protect their revenue while operating in a completely open enviroment. If this ever happens, it will truly change the social networking landscape. Do you think Facebook will eventually open up all the way?