MySpace pressures Facebook as it opens up social network

LONDON - MySpace has put pressure on rival Facebook as it launches an initiative to open its social networking site to the outside world in partnership with a number of social media sites, allowing people to share their profiles and content.

MySpace is partnering with Yahoo!, eBay, Photobucket, and Twitter to launch what it has dubbed the MySpace data availability initiative.

It will allow users of MySpace's social network to share their public profile data with websites of their choice throughout the internet -- just not with the web's next biggest social networking site Facebook.

It marks the first time a social website has allowed its community to share public profile information with other sites and follows last year's news that MySpace would be joining with Google to launch OpenSocial in November 2007, allowing applications to run across multiple social networking sites.

Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace, said: "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.

"We, alongside our data availability launch partners, are pioneering a new way for the global community to integrate their social experiences web wide."

The data availability idea will put users of social networking sites fully in control of what they share and what they do not much in the same way that they can already decide what information is seen by what people on their MySpace profiles.

Importantly it allows people to make a single update be it a photo, favourite movie or music that will then appear on each site where a user spends time.

It takes a step forward to creating a universal web profile that is in effect portable and can be used across the web. This means if a user changes their profile picture on MySpace it would also appear on their Yahoo! or eBay page.

MySpace and its launch partners will initially allow users to share content and data including: publicly available basic profile information; MySpace photos; MySpaceTV videos; and friend networks.

Amit Kapur, chief operating officer of MySpace, said: "The launch of data availability is an unprecedented move to further socialise the web and empower users to control their online data and content."

On Yahoo! the initiative will allow users to share their MySpace data and content with Yahoo! Instant Messenger making available their MySpace default photo, interests and favourite music displayed to their Messenger contacts directly in the IM client.

Additionally, MySpace users will be able to choose to display their information within Yahoo!’s universal profile or use it in Yahoo! Mail's smarter inbox.

Ash Patel, executive vice-president of platforms, at Yahoo!, said: "Yahoo! believes in an open internet that gives users the flexibility to make their web experiences as relevant, social and personalised as they can.

"The Yahoo! Open Strategy and MySpace data availability are a giant leap towards a more social and open internet."

On eBay, the move will allow eBay profiles to be enhanced with MySpace bios, interests, pictures, and videos.

On Twitter, where profiles at present are primarily focused on current updates and are relatively short on information, the MySpace plan will enrich Twitter profiles with MySpace profile content including their bio, blogs, and photos, ultimately making the Twitter site a more enriching site with content previously unavailable in its interface.

The work on integration of the data availability project will roll to MySpace users and participating websites in the coming weeks.

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