MySpace to launch "data availability" — new ways to access its data through third party sites


MySpace is planning to introduce a set of new features that will allow its users to access their data on other sites, it is announcing today. This is pretty interesting, because MySpace seems like it is trying to make itself the center of the web.

Users will be able to do things like update their own photos on their MySpace profiles, then have those photos automatically update on other sites that use MySpace photos. Besides photos, information that will be shared will include publicly available basic profile information, MySpace TV videos and friend networks.

In one use case the company gives (see screenshot, above), you can create a new Twitter account using information from MySpace, like your profile photo and interests. (Note: It looks like Twitter will be adding an option for more information on user profiles, because some of that data currently does not exist.)

If you want to be able to control what information goes from MySpace to Twitter, you will be able to access a central control panel that will be provided on the MySpace site, that will let you stop information from going from MySpace to Twitter.

In other words, MySpace wants itself to be the home for your data, that you choose to share or not share on other sites. This is somewhat similar to Facebook’s — and Google’s — vision of themselves.

MySpace partners, besides Twitter, include Yahoo, eBay and Photobucket.

The News Corp. owned company is calling this initiative “Data Availability,” which is a not-especially-clever take on the name of another group that’s working for great user data access across sites, called Data Portability — that MySpace is also joining today.

MySpace says it will start releasing these features in the coming weeks. Considering that there’s nothing to see here yet, I’m not going to say this news is earth-shattering. It may turn out, for example, that most MySpace users don’t end up using this feature. We’ll keep you posted with further coverage, once there’s more to cover.

In the meantime, here’s some more details from the company press release:

Partner Website Functionality

Data Availability is about enriching existing Internet destinations with social functionality and valuable pre-existing user generated content and data. By empowering users with the ability to dynamically share, those destinations will create deeper levels of social engagement and new functionality throughout their site. As the online home to 117 million users worldwide, this groundbreaking initiative enables the larger Web to leverage the highly engaged and passionate MySpace global community.

To ease implementation for participating sites, the MySpace Data Availability initiative uses OAUTH and Restful APIs as its core technology underpinnings. MySpace is using open standards in an effort to embrace the open source community and allow the implementation to be as non-proprietary as possible. Today’s announcement is the first step of MySpace’s larger data portability initiatives coming down the pipeline. MySpace is officially joining the Data Portability Project demonstrating our continued commitment to openness and open standards.

Data Availability on Yahoo!

MySpace’s Data Availability complements Yahoo!’s recently announced Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS), a company-wide initiative to open Yahoo! to application developers, unlock the rich social connections across the Yahoo! network, and enable users to customize and make more personally relevant their experiences of Yahoo! and other Internet services.

On Yahoo!, the Data Availability initiative may appear to users in a variety of ways. For example, users that have chosen to share their MySpace content and data with Yahoo! Instant Messenger might find their MySpace default photo, interests, and favorite music displayed to their Messenger contacts directly in the IM client. Additionally, MySpace users will be able to choose to display their data within Yahoo!’s universal profile or leverage it in Yahoo! Mail’s smarter inbox, once those upcoming releases are deployed.

“Yahoo! believes in an open Internet that gives users the flexibility to make their Web experiences as relevant, social and personalized as they can. As a longtime collaborator with MySpace on a variety of projects, including the OpenSocial Foundation, we’re thrilled to support this new initiative,” said Ash Patel, Executive Vice President, Platforms, at Yahoo!. “The Yahoo! Open Strategy and MySpace Data Availability are a giant leap towards a more social and open Internet.”

Data Availability on eBay

Through the MySpace Data Availability implementation, eBay profiles can be easily enhanced with MySpace bios, interests, pictures, and videos. In a socially driven marketplace, this will yield a deeper connection between individuals. When browsing or transacting on eBay, the availability of external social information can help users make good decisions quickly about whom they can do business with, and perhaps even make a new friend.

“The MySpace Data Availability initiative will further enrich eBay profiles and create a more elaborate social experience for buyers and sellers worldwide,” said Matt Ackley, VP of Internet Marketing of eBay. “As the world’s largest social commerce site, eBay is dedicated to creating a social context and personality for the people with whom you transact.”

Data Availability on Photobucket

MySpace’s Data Availability initiative will allow Photobucket users to enjoy a more seamless photo experience with their MySpace profile. Photobucket users will be able to have a single view of their photos across multiple services, as well as opt-in to displaying their MySpace profile data in their Photobucket albums. Users will also be able to leverage their existing connections on MySpace to share their content on Photobucket more easily, without having to re-establish connections and friend lists.

“MySpace users invest a huge amount of time populating their profile and personal interest data. With the large overlap in users, the Data Availability initiative will allow Photobucket to utilize this profile data to enhance its own products,” said Alex Welch, President of Photobucket. “The combination of the Data Availability initiative and the recently announced Photobucket Open-API provides new opportunities to create a more open web”

Data Availability on Twitter

Twitter profiles at present are primarily focused on current updates and are relatively sparse on user information. The MySpace Data Availability initiative enriches the current Twitter profile by empowering users to incorporate their MySpace profile content and data points previously not included in the Twitter product suite. Once the implementation is complete, a user will be able to bring in their MySpace content and data including their bio, blogs, and photos, ultimately making the Twitter site a more enriching site with content previously unavailable in its interface.

“Finding friends to follow is central to Twitter’s value as a real-time communication utility.” Says Biz Stone, Co-founder, Twitter. “This project enhances discovery and connectivity making Twitter more relevant and useful—we’re very excited.”


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