On Google Plus, Pownce Prior Art, Friends over Federation, Day One Data Export and This Summer's Social War

on (ttk.me b/4Ca1) using BBEdit

Yesterday Tom Coates posted on Google+ about being impressed and compared it to Pownce (moment of silence).

screenshot of Pownce.com by Andrew Mager

I wrote the following as a comment on Tom's post and then realized I should have just blogged it so here it is. Viva la IndieWeb!

Tom is spot on with the comparison to Pownce. What if Google (instead of Six Apart) had bought Pownce? Would it have been too soon? Did Google need to learn from the failures of Wave and Buzz in order to design/build G+?

Tom also said (in the comments of said G+ post)

"Don't even get me started on Federation. Don't. Even. Get. Me. Started."

I'm liking the term Federation less and less because it's the wrong focus/framing.

Friends matter more than Federation.

Tom goes on to wonder about social network splintering:

"I'm actually interested to know what happens if a community splinters. What happens if Google+ is successful. Do all social services get a little worse / emptier?"

About what happens if Google+ is successful and/or splinters other communities: while the straight up "we're a better version of the thing you're using [AKA Facebook]" approach appears to be Google+'s initial implicit messaging, that's merely the opening salvo.

They've led with a decent UI and that's the right approach to quickly gain users, fans, and attention (not going to say "buzz", oh drat too late), and data export from day 1.

My prediction: At some point they're going to flip-on real-time open data flow (e.g. ActivityStreams + PuSH + Salmon or some simplification thereof), so you can get your freshest data out (and in) in real-time. This is fundamentally different in nature from simple static data exports.

This will enable #indieweb sites to fully participate in Google+ while owning content on their own independent sites without having to write code for a snowflake API/TOS - something which no other silo has done yet (Buzz, Cliqset, Statusnet got/are close).

At that point I have a feeling the open network effects will be unstoppable. You'll get everyone joining that one open network - rather than splintering among silos.

Google+ still has to launch this real-time open data flow support of course, so there's a window of opportunity for Facebook or even Twitter to do so first, but I have a feeling that being the newest network, Google+ will be able to do so faster.

However, I wouldn't underestimate what a competitively motivated David Recordon, Paul Tarjan and co-workers could ship first, so Facebook has a chance (and they've shown in the past they can respond quickly). In contrast Twitter is horribly bad at shipping new features in any sort of timely fashion (e.g. they can't even ship a "who favorited my tweets" feature and whole other sites e.g. favstar.fm have had to do it for them), nevermind actually respond to competition.

The space of social network silos just got a lot more interesting. It's going to be a fun summer.

Afterword: I signed my comment on Google+ with "tantek.com" and noted: Once Google+ turns these kinds of external person references (e.g. tantek.com) into a one of those light blue + links e.g. +Tantek Çelik (Hint: it's as easy as doing a quick representative hCard discovery/lookup and grabbing the 'fn' property), then you'll know it's game-on.