Google Buzz Social Network: Support for Open, Standardized User Data

By HTMLGoodies Staff

Google Buzz, a new social networking service, was announced earlier this week. It marks a turning point for social networks, as Buzz is a unique service: it supports open, standardized user data.

Although Buzz looks and functions much like many other social networks such as Facebook and FriendFeed, it can be syndicated out to other sites and services using standard data formats such as Atom, Salmon, Activity Streams, MediaRSS, WebFinger and PubSubHubbub--all of which are open protocols for distributed publishing/subscribing communication. Open protocols are foreign to most social networks, which use proprietary standards for the most part.

By taking a look at Google Buzz' APIs and its developer roadmap, you can tell that although it is being announced as a destination site for end users, it is more of a platform for the world of distributed social networking--an introductory segment of the open, social web.

Since Google's announcement, we have already begun to hear complaints that Buzz does not include some mobile devices as a part of that platform--specifically devices that use Palm's webOS. It does, however, already include support for Android, iPhone, Nokia and Windows Mobile to a limited degree, with plans in place for Blackberry support. Palm developers are hoping that webOS support will be forthcoming.

For developers, Buzz means that they will be able to create services which are able to utilize the data surrounding an end user's Buzz activity. Like other social networking services, they will develop applications which will enable end users to publish to Buzz. Unlike other social networking services, however, end users may have the ability to reply to out-of-network users via email.

All of this social networking interoperability will force other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to re-evaluate their position on open data standards. Buzz has laid the groundwork for open standards, and will obviously play a large role in shaping the future of social networking.

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