If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. According to Web reports over the weekend, Google today is expected to launch Friend Connect, a set of APIs for pulling personal data from social networks that comply with the OpenSocial common interface specifications it published in October.

The move would follow news from Facebook and MySpace, which made similar announcements last week.

New from Facebook is Facebook Connect, which builds on the Facebook Platform it launched in May 2007. The release adds trusted authentication between Web sites; portability of real identity, including names, profiles, friends and photos; friends access for adding social context; and dynamic privacy, which permits a user’s privacy rules to propagate to external sites.

The release of MySpace’s Data Availability was accompanied by built-in partnerships with EBay and Yahoo, along with Twitter and its Photobucket. The project makes available MySpace user profiles, photos, videos and friend networks via RESTful API with authentication provided by OAuth.

The new MySpace API embraces specifications of the DataPortability Group, a small band founded in November, 2007, by Chris Saad. I couldn’t find a Web site for Data Availability, but MySpace’s developer documentation page might prove helpful. Also, tech portal TechCrunch posted a pretty good article and sample application showing how Data Availability might look with Twitter’s “What are you doing?” Web site.
MySpace in April
boosted its development tools, including the addition of a Post-To function to simplify publication of a user’s personal information to other users and sites.

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=http://stpmag.com]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=http://www.sdtimes.com/content/testqa.aspx]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=http://stpcon.com/]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].