MySpace Breaks Down Data Sharing Walls


News Corp.-owned MySpace said its "Data Availability" function will make public data and information shareable on sites owned by Yahoo, eBay, Twitter and Photobucket, which MySpace owns. In a statement, MySpace said that more partner sites are on the way.

"MySpace no longer operates as an isolated island on the Internet," MySpace COO Amit Kapur told Reuters. "The walls are coming down."

In a statement, MySpace noted that Data Availability, which will officially launch in two weeks, "throws open the doors to traditionally closed networks by putting users in the driver's seat of their data and Web identity."

MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe agreed.

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"The walls around the garden are coming down -- the implementation of Data Availability injects a new layer of social activity and creates a more dynamic Internet," DeWolfe said in a statement. "We, alongside our Data Availability launch partners, are pioneering a new way for the global community to integrate their social experiences Web-wide."

According to MySpace, users can control where and what information can be shared and with whom and they can turn the sharing feature on and off at any time. The function also restricts other sites from storing user data from MySpace users.

Rather than updating information across the Web for each site where a user spends time, they can update their profile in onc place and share that with other sites. MySpace said it will roll out a centralized location within its site that lets users manage how their content and data is made available to third-party sites of their choice.

Using the Data Availability function, for example, a user that signs up for Twitter, a site that lets uses publish quick messages, won't have to retype their information or upload pictures of themselves onto Twitter, or any new site they sign up for, again even if their MySpace information has changed. Twitter members, however, will not be able to make their data available in the same fashion via MySpace. MySpace, however, is pushing for more sites to begin sharing data.

MySpace's announcement to make user data available is the latest in a recent trend of social networking sites enabling information sharing and part of a greater movement across the Web to adopt open standards. In March, for example, Facebook, Microsoft and other social networking sites have teamed up to make contacts and information sharable. In that instance Microsoft paired with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, LinkedIn and Tagged to let users share Windows Live contact lists with the social networking sites, allowing them to transfer contacts between them.

While the Data Availability play may open MySpace's system up to rivals and partners, it is a move that will help protect its social networking dominance from being overtaken by the likes of Facebook. The new feature is available to any Web site that signs up, even competitors, MySpace said.

"We're happy to work with Facebook if they want to join up with our effort," DeWolfe told Reuters in a conference call.

MySpace is also a member of OpenSocial network. Launched in November, OpenSocial is a network which aims to devise a set of technological specifications that lets software developers build games, photo slideshows and other applications that can run on any network. Along with MySpace companies like Google and Yahoo also participate in the OpenSocial network.