Social Networking Wars 2011: Everyone Cutting Off Everyone Else
from the and-who-loses? dept
It seems that, with the launch of Google+, we may have seen the kickoff of the great social networking war of 2011 — with the various services trying to hold back and block data.
First off, over the weekend, some folks noticed that Google’s real-time search suddenly went dead. At first people thought it was just an error, but it later came out that it was due to the fact that Google’s deal with Twitter, wherein Twitter provided Google with a real-time firehose of Twitter data, had ended and had not been renewed. Neither side seems to be explaining much. Both gave vague statements. First Twitter (oddly, many press sources are saying the following statement is from Google, but it’s not):
Since October 2009, Twitter has provided Google with the stream of public tweets for incorporation into their real-time search product and other uses. That agreement has now expired. We continue to provide this type of access to Microsoft, Yahoo!, NTT Docomo, Yahoo! Japan and dozens of other smaller developers. And, we work with Google in many other ways.
Then Google’s first statement:
Twitter has been a valuable partner for nearly two years, and we remain open to exploring other collaborations in the future.
And then a further statement:
Since October of 2009, we have had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results through a special feed, and that agreement expired on July 2.
While we will not have access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that?s publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google.
Of course, Google had many other sources in realtime search… and they’re all wiped out too. Google has suggested that it will be relaunching it… but with Google+ as the central piece:
Our vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources.
In other words, this looks like a bit of a standoff between two social networks.
And that’s not the only one. Another report has come out saying that Facebook is actively blocking methods that let you export your Facebook social graph into Google+. This might not be a huge deal (frankly, I don’t want to export my Facebook setup to Google+), but it does suggest another standoff.
None of this is a huge surprise, but it does highlight yet another problem of relying on any proprietary, centralized services. They can change things around, block off data, and limit what people can do. A truly open, distributed solution wouldn’t even be able to cut off anyone else or require special deals for data feeds. The real tragedy is that in blocking off access to data in both of these cases, everyone loses by having fewer options and less ability to make use of data. Who knows who’s at fault in the first one (or perhaps it’s both parties), but all these skirmishes may also call more attention to Google’s market power. If it comes out that Google was the one who decided not to re-up, and that it’s planning to use Google+ instead of Twitter, you can see how the “Google is a monopoly!” brigade will go nuts.