It’s truly a strange world online now. Google is rumored to be on the verge of an announcement on Monday that would make all social media data portable, connectable and linkable. How strange would it be to post to your favorite social networking site with an update like, say maybe adding a new friend – and instantly update any of your other social profiles with that change or addition?
Michael Arrington, first with many big announcements because businesses (and insiders, and PR departments and…) know the attention level of a TechCrunch post can beat (or lead as the source) for National Media outlets.
Well, Arrington is speculating (or leaking) that Google is about to launch “Friend Connect” following on the heels of the Yahoo Open Strategy announcement, the MySpace Data Availability announcement, then the FaceBook response to the MySpace announcement with Facebook Connect announcement and now, a truly strange service called OnlyWire bookmarklet for posting links to social bookmarking services – all of them – at ONCE.
Despite the fact that many want those services to be shared by different groups of friends, coworkers, or family – this is a very interesting development in what it means to be social, what being social means to search visibility and how this might affect spamming for SEO. Want a sample? Check out this Google Search for Xoost – a truly bizarre result-set.
If that group of Xoost search results doesn’t concern you about how multi-posting and single source updates to social bookmarking sites might be abused for search engine spamming, then you have nerves of steel.
For perfect clarity – I am not labeling any site, service or company mentioned here as spammers – I fear for the abuse of this newest development as taking a step too far toward openness, so that all of them could be abused horribly. Yes, with proper attention, only briefly – but it’s like standing on the precipice looking down several stories to a river of sewage we could fall into.
What is the right amount of openness, portability and single source updating? I don’t have a clue – but I worry that the noise level could go up dramatically and search relevance could suffer in an escalating “openness” arms race.
I’ve had my nervous moment now – let’s hope it doesn’t get as ugly as all that.
Update shows that Friend Connect from Google is different from the expectations and not joining in the portability madness in the way I had feared – whew! Below is a Google video on this new social networking tool.