(AFP) – May 8, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — MySpace announced Thursday it is opening the gates of its popular online community by letting users automatically transfer profile information to other social-networking websites.
MySpace said it will kick off a "data availability" project in coming weeks by letting members share profile information with Yahoo, eBay, Photobucket and Twitter and that it is open to working with arch-rival Facebook.
"The walls around the garden are coming down," said MySpace chief executive Chris DeWolfe.
"We, alongside our data availability launch partners, are pioneering a new way for the global community to integrate their social experiences Web-wide."
Social-networking website devotees are renowned for spending vast amounts of time and energy to customizing profile pages with pictures, videos, written musings, music, and links to blogs, websites and friends.
Instead of having to repeat such efforts at multiple websites, MySpace members will be able to select which personal details to transfer using mini-applications installed on partner websites.
MySpace will be the "engine" for the data, letting members synchronize updates across as many websites as they wish or remove information whenever they desire.
"The main thing MySpace gets out of this is we are able to promote more open and social Internet," DeWolfe said during a conference call with news reporters.
"We believe that the more open and the more social the Internet becomes the better it is for MySpace. We are happy to work with Facebook if they want to join up with us on this project, as with any group that wants to work with us."
The move unexpectedly veers from the practice of "big guys" in social networking locking their users inside walls of proprietary technology, according to IDC analyst Karsten Weide.
"It is very bold and visionary because all of these open-access steps break with the past in many ways," Weide said.
"We are truly entering a new stage in online media where things become a lot more open."
The tactic could pay off for MySpace, Yahoo and others by encouraging people to spend more time at all the websites instead of forcing them to decide whether to abandon one in favor of another.
"It makes life easier for consumers and encourages more usage," Weide said. "The thinking is a rising tide will lift all boats."
MySpace was among the websites to join Google late last year in an "Open Social" initiative aimed at creating common standards so hip or helpful software applications called "widgets" can work in various online communities.
Google and Microsoft are among a growing number of supporters of an "Open ID" movement that would enable people to apply the same user names and passwords to multiple websites.
"Facebook has so far not joined initiatives like Open Social or Open ID so I don't expect them join MySpace's new project any time soon," Weide said.
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