Data Wars

Me: "I promise you, the Giant Global Graph will NOT be housed under Microsoft's wing.....!"

Rex: "Oh look, Microsoft is trying to make themselves relevant again! By being a monopoly again! Yay!"

Here's what it is: By making a play for Facebook Microsoft would have access to one of the world's largest open consumer databases; couple this with a Yahoo! search buy and their obsessive research into future digital advertising solutions like their Visual Product Browsing (algorithm that categorizes images by the data in the image itself vs. manual tags or filenames)....and you've got a software giant making a huge play for Web ownership.

No doubt Microsoft would intend to keep Facebook a closed data silo from which to leverage its search (Goog can't spider much Facebook data but perhaps a Micro-owned Yahoo would, now that would be smart).

Ok, so lets review some issues: The Data Portability Workgroup and Google both have been working on creating new standards for accessing and sharing (porting) data; recently MySpace, Facebook, and Google announced their own data portability initiatives, all while maintaining the central control of where that personal data is actually stored (none of the initiatives allow third party sites to cache or store the data). The issue is that until there is a universal, decentralized data silo from which to access and leverage our personal digital data, this tug-n-pull for data control will continue, and precisely why Microsoft is possibly looking at Facebook. FB, as of now, is the leader in sheer volume of valuable personal user (read: consumer) data.

Unfortunately for Microsoft they underestimate (as they have so many times before) the open web movement:

"They are a company trying to cling to the status quo- control, power, etc...when there is a mobile, educated, armed mass of consumers who can create what was once only proprietary to MSFT"

And while I hate quoting Scobel (his take on the possible Microhoobook deal is near idiotic with his claim that FriendFeed would be the savior of open web), He does make a point as to why a possible Microhoobook would be a big freaking deal:

"Don’t think this matters? It sure does. Relevancy on Yahoo search will go through the roof when it has access to Facebook data and Google doesn’t. People will see that Yahoo has people search (something I’ve asked Google for for years) and Google doesn’t. That’ll turn the tide in advertising, and all that."

And frankly, until the social graph becomes truly decentralized, I'd rather have Google as the intermediary, but then again as a friend of mine pointed out via chat the other day, I suppose Microsoft was once held with a similar esteem we give Google today. But hey, with a motto like "Don't Be Evil," we can trust them, right?

1 comment:

Martin Edic said...

Ooh, did you have to quote him?
So does Facebook throw its EULA out the door along with its Privacy Policy if MS buys them? You can't merge the existing data with search without doing so...we can't index Facebook right now, at least not much of it because of this.