Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Forget Google Buzz -- Promote OneSocialWeb

Google Buzz has been getting a lot of attention today, and the buzz (awww!) has drowned out a much more interesting piece of social technology that was announced at FOSDEM 10.

What has been the big problem with social networks? They are walled gardens. Being on Orkut didn't help you with Facebook at all, and your data was fragmented. IM has many of the same problems. E-mail doesn't, though. Why is that? E-mail is federated. Servers talk to servers, and using one important character ("@"), you can route your message to the person you want to reach. You can even set up your own e-mail server and control all your own data.

IM has had a hero called XMPP ("Jabber") for some time. IM has many of the same features that social networking does:
  1. Identity
  2. Profiles
  3. Contacts / Friends / Relationships
  4. Status updates
XMPP also offers federation ("@") capability for server-to-server communication. It lacks a few important social media features, but luckily, the "X" in XMPP stands for "extensible."  Vodafone Group Research and Development has written extensions to the OpenFire XMPP server and a web client with Google Web Kit. The code works. Final clean-ups are being made so that the code can be used as a reference implementation, and it will be released as OneSocialWeb under an Apache 2 license in a month or so. Anyone will be able to set up a server and join the federation, just as Jabber servers work now.

Many years of discussion have gone into determining what a federated social network would look like, and the OneSocialWeb doesn't ignore that work.
This project has been built upon the shoulders of other initiatives aiming to open up the web and we have been inspired by the visionaries behind them:, portablecontacts, OAuth, OpenSocial, FOAF, XRDS, OpenID and more.
Thanks, team. Now let's look at the screencast.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post ! We are indeed a bit unlucky with Google launching something similar on the same weekend... but hey, it is also about promoting an open social web.. so it is all good stuff !


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