We’ve spoken recently about opening up the social graph. At last week’s Web 2.0 Summit, our own David Recordon was joined by Brad Fitzpatrick to talk about some of the first real bits of technology that have been made available for developers to build on. From David’s post on O’Reilly Radar:
Today I announced a new service for developers that is a key piece of infrastructure that will help to open the social graph. Keeping track of friends online is not easy to do. You might let a service import your GMail address book today, but a week from that, the information is out of date. The Six Apart Relationship Update Stream is an endless feed of social relationship data, designed for Web services to be able to send and receive information when changes to social relationships on their service occur. This is a developer platform, not something for regular users. It launches today, streaming real-time public changes from LiveJournal and Ma.gnolia, averaging around hundreds of changes per minute, with updates from Hi5, GetSatisfaction, SmugMug, Plaxo, and Vox coming soon. … This means that when I add a friend on LiveJournal, the feed I see on FriendFeed could be updated in real-time to start showing events from them as well.
The Relationship Update Stream is a sort of “river of relationships” — one endless list of the ways that we’ve all added each other to various social networking services. Of course, it only shows data that you’ve chosen to make public.
To be clear, this is a tool for developers, not for regular users of social networking services. But what it promises is a way for social sites to do the right thing, and share the status of relationships that you create on one service with every other service you use. We believe that most sites want to do the right thing — there just haven’t been tools available to make that possible.
As this post is published, updates.elsewhere.im shows roughly 200 updates (“pings”) a minute are being published this way. It’s a remarkable measure of just how much potential there is for social sites to, well, be more social with each other. If you’re a developer take a look at the Relationship Update Stream, and if you’re a member of a social networking site, ask the services you use if they’ll let you take your relationship data with you.