That’s the question that popped into my head while listening to the Social Computing panel at Office 2.0 in San Francisco two weeks ago. John McCrae was pointing out that Facebook’s strategy of not allowing users to get data out – that is, the inability to extract data from the platform in order to have it interact with software outside – was actually something that would limit the social networks’ growth in the long term. The reality is there’s stuff outside Facebook, and people are going to want to do and use that stuff – trying to force them to live their lives in exclusively your space is foolish.
Which was underscored by a recent post from Chris Keene, called 5 Show-Stoppers That Cause Enterprise 2.0 Apps to Fail. #2:
Look but don’t touch widgets. Although this is changing (see here for the latest on Google’s pub/sub widgets), the vast majority of widgets can’t exchange data. This allows for an infinite variety of cute clock and horoscope widgets, but a paucity of useful business functionality in widget form.
So aside from widgets we have all these wonderful communication and collaboration tools – all online, all different. All completely separate and mostly unable to talk to each other. Which begs the question – what standard or tool will emerge that will be the Internet for my apps and allow me to leverage all this incredible interconnectivity to its’ full potential?
How to make widgets talk to each other is a great question Maggie, and the question right after it is how do I make them stop talking if I don’t want them to (aka security)! As with everything else on the internet, trust will be a critical component of application construction via widget assembly (aka Enterprise 2.0).
Is Facebook the new “old AOL” i.e. just AOL but no Internet inside the walls? It’s a good point Maggie, and I’m sure one day Facebook will see the wisdom of AOL’s ways and open ‘er up.