In episode 8 of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast we diverge from the standard format to dive beyond the headlines to explore recent news. We spent the time talking in depth about the Comcast acquisition of Plaxo and Google’s release of Friend Connect.
For Plaxo, we have Joseph Smarr, Chief Platform Architect, and John McCrae, VP Marketing, talking about the acquisition and how it furthers data portability. Specifically, Smarr made it clear that the name of the game in portability is not making everything homogeneous, but rather opening up the flow of communication across systems:
Data portability is about empowering users to connect the tools they use so they don’t have to repeat themselves over and over again. So that the information can flow for others to discover it. It would be a mistake to characterize it as making everything exactly the same.
On the same thread, returning guest Kevin Marks, Developer Advocate for Google’s OpenSocial project, highlights their commitment to the openness of data portability:
One company can’t hold anything hostage because we’re connecting together open standards. All these pieces can be supplied by multiple parties. You can interoperate without having to have a business negotiation because you can write to the standard and the standard works.
In the discussion, Marks also corrects some common misconceptions around Google’s Friend Connect. Some of the reporting about it mistakenly assumed that Google would be siphoning off the friendship graph when using it’s system to connect sites. He clarifies that Friend Connect enables the portability of user data by mapping the connections, and isn’t storing the data itself.
Episode 8: Listen Episode Length: 00:35:41
We kick off episode 7 of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast with the news of the week that MySpace launched “Data Availability” with Yahoo!, eBay, Photobucket, and Twitter. Following immediately on their heels was the announcement that Facebook is releasing “Facebook Connect”, an extension of their 3rd party API providing deeper access to their user’s data.
We’re also joined by Brady Brim-Deforest, founder of Human Global Media, talking about the DataPortability Legal Entity Taskforce. He provides a good overview and update on the process underway to formalize the the project under a recognized legal banner.
The featured interview segment is with Danny Ayers, Semantic Web Developer at Talis. He touches on moving from document linking, through microformats, to feature-rich RDF modeling to identify portable data. Contrary to popular belief, he dispels the myth that it’s hard to migrate from a standard SQL data representation into addressable semantic objects.
Danny regularly posts on the following sites:
Also mentioned in the episode:
BONUS: We bring back Danny Ayer’s “Get Your Data Out” DataPortability Project anthem to close out the episode.
Episode 7: Listen Episode Length: 0:45:47
Joining us in episode 6 of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast is Paul Trevithick, CEO of Parity and the Founder of the Higgins Project. Higgins is an incredibly well thought-out open identity framework that’s designed to integrate identity, profile and social relationship information across multiple sites, applications and devices.
We were excited to talk with Paul about Higgins, especially since they released version 1.0 of their complete identify framework in late February. As it’s been a few years in the making, it might seem like the system wouldn’t play friendly with latecomers like some of the solutions being promoted by the DataPortability Project. Not so, however, as Paul talks through how they’ll plug into OpenID and newcomers Project VRM.
We’re often asked what the DataPortability Project is doing to help the development community, and this is a prime example. We’re helping tie the pieces together of existing solutions and promoting their utility. To that point, I circled back with Joe Andrieu to get his take on VRM hooking in with Higgins:
Higgins plus CardSpace means we have both a soup-to-nuts, open source Identity stack and a built-in client application on every .Net 3 machine. With that breadth, it’s just a matter of adoption time before the Identity-enabled net, and THAT will make VRM possible across the board.
NOTE: For more about VRM, check out In-Motion episode 2.
Before getting into the meat of the podcast, however, we hit some relevant news points:
- Yahoo! Rewires for the Social Graph and Data Portability
- Microsoft Announces Live Mesh
- SocialDevCamp coming up in Baltimore
- DataPortability DIY Project for May: “rel=me”
- New DataPortability Logo Challenged (again)
Episode 6: Listen Episode Length: 0:31:45
The fifth episode of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast explores data portability with Jonathan Vanasco. As the CEO of FindMeOn.com and founder of the Open SN interchange format, he brings an interesting historical perspective to the discussion.
His company was on the ground and selling the data portability vision in 2006, and met with significant resistence by the same players embracing the DataPortability Project today. He talks about the approach taken by the Open SN specification, touching on the unfortunate naming collision with OpenSocial (with which there is no relationship). Beyond the technical details how FindMeOn.com leverages the format (ie. key-signed trusted relationship sharing), the story itself is worth hearing from an early advocate.
Of note is Jonathan’s quote about the resistance he encountered back in 2006 and where we are today:
It was like this very weird cultural shift, where almost overnight people went from data portability is absolutely evil to we love data portability. Cultural shifts always happen, but I’m still absolutely amazed at how fast it happened. Usually people warm up to ideas like this over a year or two, but this was kind of like an overnight thing.
Update: Jonathan posted a follow-up to the interview expanding on the discussion. It’s a great augmentation to the conversation.
Leading into the discussion, we hit some top-level news:
- DataPortability 6-Month Report
- New DataPortability Logo
- DataSharing Summit Recap
- Web 2.0 Expo Update
- Mahalo adds microformats
- Forrester: Social network tools to drive $4.6B industry by 2013
- NewsGator releases Inbox 3.0
- MySpace Gallery Application is live
Episode 5: Listen Episode Length: 0:28:51
In the fourth espisode of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast, Phil Wolff, editor of Skype Journal, and Eran Hammer-Lahav, author of the XRDS-Simple specification join hosts Trent and Steve.
Leading the episode, we touch on a few news nuggets:
- TechCrunch Donates $6,625 to the DataPortability Project
- DataPortability Project Logo Competition Update
- Will data portability be a battle like free software?
Flowing out of the news, Phil chats briefly about his discussions with folks about how data portability will impact advertising. Similar to VRM, as we learned in our previous discussion with Joe Andrieu, it seems clear that businesses and consumers will benefit from standardized portable data.
Working toward making data more portable, Phil also talks about the DataPortability “Do It Yourself” projects he and David Recordon bandied about at a recent meetup in San Francisco. While it’s still getting off the ground, he’s working to formalize a number of small projects that can easily be implemented.
Our feature discussion is with Eran Hammer-Lahav about the XRDS-Simple specification he recently authored. He leads us through the history from his time working on the oAuth specification, and how the simplification of XRDS is complementary to other easily-implemented discovery techniques.
Episode 4: Listen Episode Length: 0:51:37
Thanks to everyone spreading the word, we’re really starting to pick up some speed. In the third espisode of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast show, hosts Trent and Steve are joined by Christian Scholz (aka MrTopf) in a chat with Kevin Marks, Developer Advocate at Google’s OpenSocial project.
After the news, the conversation starts with presentations that Christian’s been giving on DataPortability at various meetups in Germany, London, and virtually as part of the Second Life OpenGrid Project.
From there we dive into the discussion with Kevin and what’s up in OpenSocial, and how developers can get on board. He also mentioned participating in small coding projects proposed by DataPortability Project members Phil Wolf and David Recordon (who we hope to have on soon to talk more about it). There’s also a brief discussion about Google’s OpenID support and how to test out the Social Graph API.
Leading the episode, a brief news update on:
- RSA Conference 2008
- TotSpot Embraces DataPortability
- DataPortability Project Members and MyBlogLog FOAF
BTW – If you like this podcast, check out Christian’s TopfCast, too. He includes kewl tunes, for that full-bodied listening experience.
Episode 3: Download Episode Length: 0:48:08
In the second espisode of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast, show hosts Trent and Steve chat with Kaliya Hamlin (aka IdentityWoman) about the upcoming Data Sharing Summit and with Joe Andrieu, founder of SwitchBook, about his work with the VRM Project lead by Doc Searls at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Leading the episode, a brief news update on:
- MyBlogLog supporting FOAF
- Flickr announcing their friend finder feature
- Read/Write Web article on conversations leaving the blogosphere
Bonus Track: Danny Ayer’s “Get Your Data Out” DataPortability Project rock anthem.
Episode 2: Listen Episode Length: 0:45:22
What started as an innocent research project into the communities related to the DataPortability Project has taken on a life of its own. While chatting with pioneering leaders in the portable data space, I realized the conversations may be valuable for others to hear as well.
The concept was well received, but some folks suggested a more formalized structure would be helpful. Enter Steve Greenberg and we bounced around a few ideas, coming up with what we’re calling the “DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast“. We’ll produce a show a week, leading with a few short news snippets, and a long format discussion with one or more guests working in and around the portable data world.
In this espisode of the DataPortability: In-Motion Podcast, Trent and Steve chat with Kingsley Idehen, CEO of OpenLink Software, about his views of data portability and accessibility.
Leading the episode, a brief news update on:
- Microsoft Announces Contact List Portability
- Magnolia Requiring OpenID
- Tribe.net Shuts Down FOAF Support
- Ringside Networks Launched
- XRDS-Simple Released
Episode 1: Listen Episode Length: 0:20:43
This is just too good to pass up… Seamus McCauley posted a complimentary note on his “Virtual Economics” blog today:
MatchMine is the best new idea I’ve seen this year. It’s not new to recommend media content to people on the basis of their individual preferences (that’s what Google News tries to do for news, what Last.fm and Pandora do very effectively for music, what TIOTI wants to do for TV, what Amazon does adequately, if sometimes randomly, with books) but trying to generalise it across multiple media from a single location is new.
I’m certainly pleased to hear that the idea I cooked up strikes a chord. I’ve been living this dream for the past couple years, and it’s gratifying that there’s a receptive audience for it. We’re still in the (very) early hours of the execution of the business itself, so I’m excited to see us transition from the “great idea” phase into providing a “great solution” for the end users.
… and so it begins.
Those of you following the story of my new business venture, matchmine, know that there’s a part of it that came from discussions my brother and I had back in ’95. Specifically, we were talking about the implications of music jumping off their prison of plastic discs and being more freely distributed online as bits and bytes. We knew the paradigm shift was coming, and we worked out some concepts for what that’d mean to end users.
Around that time Mark was working on an open source project with some MIT alum to build a digital jukebox. Keep in mind, though, that this was before “MP3″ was a household term (I even remember some debate raging as to which format it’d support). Using some nifty AI tricks, the jukebox was able to cleverly serve up a good mix of tracks that’d largely hit the interests of the folks connected to it. Amusingly, this whole project was primarily driven by the desire to help his staff listen to their collective tunes.
That was then, and this is now. And now I just fielded a call from him with another clever idea, this time including the artists in the mix. The basic concept is rooted in the fact that the music industry as it has been for the past fifty years will have to change to remain relevant. There’s a lot of debate about the actual form the new model will eventually take, but the dust isn’t close to settling on the right solution just yet. In fact, unlike the monolithic solutions of the past, it’s distinctly possible that multiple models can simultaneously exist.
To that end, the idea du jour is how to take the digital jukebox concept and pay the artists directly when people listen. As it stands now, for any one artist there are all sorts of contracts with multiple parties (eg. producers, labels, distributors, etc.) the majority of which are governed by the RIAA. It’s obvious why that has historically proven to be “the way of it”, but the rules of the game have changed significantly enough in recent years that it’s worth evaluating new opportunities.
With this recent conversation rattling in my head, I stumbled onto a post by Jason Kolb that sketches a basic concept speaking to the plan Mark and I discussed:
One of my friends was handing out CD’s for a band that his friend was a part of, which got me thinking. If people are willing to hand out CD’s for bands because they like them, why not capitalize on that and turn it into an associate program? It would be cheaper and easier to just hand out cards with some information including a URL to get free MP3 downloads from the Web site. The Web site could offer the rest of the tracks as a paid download along with selling merchandise and tickets—the cash cow. Just put a unique identifier in the URL so you can track it back to the person who gave the card out, and give them a cut of any revenue that comes in as a result of their evangelism. All the benefit of record label marketing without the gatekeepers and middlemen.
Formalizing the idea, then, and without further adieu here’s basically what Mark suggested — to build a tool that an end user can:
- Identify yourself (either directly or by representation)
- Listen to music you’d like (either by parameter command, or based on a preference profile)
- Get track, album, artist information (so you can learn more about them)
- Action on purchase events (such as buying tracks, albums, concert tickets, or “tipping” the artist directly)
- Access standard social networking tools (that are too obvious at this stage to enumerate)
This could be in the form of a web site… though I’d suggest a simple web service that other websites and applications could use. To do so, some light-weight API would do the trick. There are already too many end user destinations as it is; why add to the noise? This approach would also allow existing (or new) destinations to generate some revenue of their own with a piece of advertising, etc.
All very well-and-good, but how’s the music gonna’ get in there to be fed back out? The answer is that the music catalog only contains tracks released under a generally compatible open license (eg. Creative Commons). A lot of which can already be obtained online under various licenses, but these specific artists never expected to see a dime off of these tracks. To encourage wider support, though, they’d need something more than nothing for their work. To service them, another tool set would need to be rolled out for the artists:
- Manage your identity and public info (by legal name or by pseudonym)
- Manage your tracks (upload, modify, retire, etc.)
- Set the license by which the tracks are released (from a closed set of compatible licenses)
- Select an economic model (eg. free, pay-per-listen, pay-per-download, downstream revenue percentage, etc.)
These tools would probably need to be coupled with similar ones geared toward downstream revenue generators. It’d be reasonable to assume something like what Kolb mentions could be the simple first step (ie. referral service to direct purchase). Following that, additional services can be added to the portal and associated APIs over time as it builds momentum.
Anyway, there’s a brief sketch of the new thought. Given the accelerating pace, I’m guessing it won’t be long to see something like it come to fruition. In fact… at matchmine we’re already building [CENSORED BY MATCHMINE DEPARTMENT OF SECRECY] and we’re really excited about it!