the need for data portability

Scoble has set a fire under Facebook for not letting him move his data out of their network and into another network. He has posted about it here.

Data portability (and interchange) is going to be an important part of 2008 with people using more and more services to meet their needs. Amongst the tech crowd, people seem to be using Facebook less and less and moving to specialised services like Twitter, tumblr and Flickr for “status updates”, life feeds and photos respectively. The ability to move between services can only be good for the consumer – increasing competition amongst similar services and providing better functionality. I am hoping this will allow for better attention based tools to come to the fore – Twitter is definitely better at putting quality information in front of me than the Facebook currently because of the tighter audience. Of course, if Twitter took off in the same way as Facebook then it too would suffer as it would need to prioritise or at least group messages.

There is a new group I have just joined called dataportability.org which is looking to help this happen. It seems to make sense.

I wonder if this idea could be replicated at the operating system level? It would make for more interesting competition – the ability to remove microsoft’s components and replace them with others. Is it technically feasible? It would need Microsoft to open up the OS significantly.