Data Portability Workgroup: WPN Takes Inside Look

    January 24, 2008

Since social networks are incredibly popular and since users are generally members of more than one social network, it would be convenient to transfer your data and pictures from one profile to another. is heading up a workgroup that will hopefully do just that. While many groups and companies are taking part in this effort, the recent addition of a few big name players has attracted a lot of attention.

The following companies are among those that recently joined the workgroup:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Plaxo
  • LinkedIn
  • Flickr
  • SixApart
  • Twitter
  • Microsoft

According to ReadWriteWeb, Mozilla is examining the idea of joining the workgroup and is expected to join.

WebProNews spoke with Chris Saad, the Co-Founder and Chairman of Data Portability. He said,

“…Data Portability Workgroup is a group of passionate individuals in various fields of expertise from bloggers, to technical experts, to legal experts, to vendors who are interested in solving the problem of creating bridges between applications, so users can ultimately share their videos, photos, documents, and friends….”

This coming together with rival companies is a big step for those involved. However, they all realize the results will benefit their own individual companies. WebProNews contacted Google and Facebook and while they were unable to interview, they did release the following statements.

"Google shares’s vision of open standards, transparency, and user choice.  We’re looking forward to participating in an ongoing and important conversation about these issues." — Google Spokesperson

“We are committed to giving users control of their data on Facebook and, at the same time, safeguarding the privacy of users. Facebook joined the DataPortability Workgroup in order to actively participate in industry dialogue and to represent feedback from the Facebook community.” — Ben Ling, the Director of Product Marketing for Facebook Platform and Facebook’s Representative in the Data Portability Workgroup.

Speaking of Facebook, it is very interesting that both Robert Scoble and Plaxo have joined the workgroup considering the recent controversial issue involving the three companies.

Plaxo asked Scoble to test one of their features to see if it would export data from Facebook and then import it into Plaxo. Facebook detected the activity and kicked Robert Scoble off Facebook.

Both Data Portability and Plaxo agree that the situation brought the issue of data portability to forefront of everyone’s focus.

Plaxo’s Vice President of Marketing, John McCrea said,

“… Everyone knew that 2008 would be the year for data portability, but this situation brought the discussion to the front and center…”

To get more information on the Data Portability Workgroup, check out the WebProNews video. It takes a deeper look at the topic including interviews from Chris Saad, John McCrea, and Plaxo’s Representative in the Data Portability Workgroup, Joseph Smarr.