Big Companies, Big Social News

What did I miss? Is today the standard day to announce “big news”? The reason this is so interesting is because it is all related to social media and social networks. First, Comcast announces its new service They are partnering with IBMD, CBS, and others. The Comcast offering is a video “hub” where video is hosted with links to IMDB information, local movie listings, etc. I am not sure if this really matters in the long run as they have so many partners there may not be enough money to go around. This does not look like a huge money making opportunity.

Then Yahoo announces Yahoo Life! (yes, life with an exclamation point). That gets coverage all over, but it seems like everyone has the same screen shots, so here is the TechCrunch coverage. This is only a proof of concept, but it does look interesting. First, you get the whole “ajaxy” inbox that everyone is used to now. The cool part looks like integration with your contacts or social network. With that integration, you get the “data interestingness” that everyone is trying to get to with the social networks. Based on the images, it looks like the 3rd party application integration is the sweet spot for Yahoo.

Did you know that Cisco does software? Well, they do not, but they buy companies that do. Today, they announced their plans for social networking software. Their purchase of Five Across became Eos or “Entertainment operating system”. This makes no sense to me, so let me quote the article:

It will let companies build online communities for niche groups, but more specifically it will help the companies monitor the community members’ interaction with each other as well as the content.

The odd part about this is that it does not include hardware at all. Cisco definitely has monitoring on their minds with all of their networking hardware, but a pure software play is a different route. The other side of this is that it is social network infrastructure software, which sounds like direct competition for Ning. The timing of the announcement is convenient as Ning has been all over the news lately because some of their users are creating “adult” networks. Keep an eye on this development because Cisco has plenty of money but has stayed away from software for a while.

Lastly, the Data Portability Working Group announced that Facebook, Google and Plaxo have joined the working group. The Data Portability Group is a topic for another day, but the news that the three companies “being bad” this week have joined the group is encouraging. The idea behind data portability is going to become very important as can be seen from the “Plaxo-Scoble fiasco”. More privacy and ownership issues will be coming to the fore as people realize that they currently do not own their data. This looks to be changing with this news, but watch the news in this space. Joining a working group is nice public relations, but let us wait to see what becomes of this.

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