DataPortability looks set to massively increase the value of the Net to users


Over the last few weeks excitement has been mounting over the DataPortability movement, which has a mission of giving users control over their data. It brings together a range of existing initiatives, including APML, OpenID, RSS, and others to enable personal data to be shared between applications and vendors. The initiative is spearheaded by Chris Saad, with a broad global team involved, and rapidly growing membership of the group.

The latest hot news is that Microsoft is joining the DataPortability group. Other recent new participants include Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr. Many of the big names in technology and other key social networking sites are believed to be on the verge of announcing their participation. Critical mass is essential for this kind of initiative; it now seems to have reached the point at which this is likely to become a true industry-wide initiative. The media attention DataPortability is getting, including from mainstream press such as the Financial Times, shows this is not just a geek thing.

Last year I wrote many times and about the trend to openness on the web, and the reinvigoration of the concept of infomediaries. Several commentators have suggested that DataPortability is one of the most important initiatives on the web for 2008. The issue is absolutely a defining one for where the information economy goes, and the momentum on the initiative just in the first month of the year suggests that the group will bring together the energy the community has in making data portable.

If we look at the really big picture of the Internet, a large part of what is holding back value to users is how applications are fragmenting people’s data and attention. Having true data portability would make the Net far easier to use and far more valuable to people. Just the last year or two has convinced me that people believe they should control their own data. The Net is inevitably going to follow those desires. It’s looking like DataPortability is going to be a central mechanism in this transformative shift in the online world.

Michael Pick has created a neat 2 minute video explaining the key concepts of DataPortability – see below.

DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.

1 reply
  1. Matthias
    Matthias says:

    I think it is not only a matter of time. It is also a matter of securing and keeping my work. All elements are uploaded, organized, tagged and commented. But what happens when the Web 2.0 application of my choice will be shut down for whatever reason. Maybe I get my material out via an API or export function. But this usually results in an XML file unreadable for humans. When everything is stored in a desktop application, I can keep those application even when the vendor decides to stop it. I can keep it forever or have at least more than enough time to bring the content into new tool. For this disappearing 2.0 tool, I have no influence on the closing schedule.

Comments are closed.