MySpace Opens Profile Portability API

MySpace will enable sites across the Web to tie their users’ accounts into their profiles on the popular social network, with the release of the API for its Data Availability initiative.

The company’s Data Availability project previously counted only Yahoo, eBay, Twitter and Photobucket as partners, supporting profile-sharing on their sites. With the release of the new API, however, access to MySpace profiles is open to any site looking to layer in a social dimension.

“Our users spend hours updating and making changes to their profiles, uploading content, and building friend relationships,” MySpace’s Rhonda Rondeau wrote in a company blog post. “With your help, that data can now be available to MySpace users no matter where they go on the Internet.”

The move is part of a larger trend of openness and interoperability among popular destinations on the Web. Within a week of the Data Availability launch in early May, Facebook and Google both introduced similar projects aimed at breaking down the barriers among social sites.

Yahoo also has sought to rewire its platforms under a unified format. The move is central to its courtship of the developer community, a project that the company identified as a top technical priority in detailing its reorganization yesterday.

As a result of MySpace’s opening up its API to third-party developers, the social network’s users can now automatically export content from their profile pages to any other sites. Initially, that content will be limited to public profile information, photos and friend networks.

In a nod to potential privacy concerns, MySpace is letting users decide which sites they want to share their information with, and an opt-out mechanism will promptly trigger the removal of their data.

The APIs also extend efforts by MySpace in supporting other open social networking initiatives. Data Availability supports the open source OAuth authentication standard, and MySpace is offering the RESTful APIs in compliance with the OpenSocial 0.7 specification.

OpenSocial is the initiative formed by Google to create a common framework for the applications developers build on social Web sites. Yahoo, MySpace and most of the other major social networks support OpenSocial, although rival Facebook does not.

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