Facebook, Google, Plaxo open up to set users free

In a major move Facebook, Google and Plaxo are effectively ending their policy of keeping users locked-in to their social networks. As TechCrunch US reports, today Facebook, Google and Plaxo have joined the DataPortability Workgroup, implying that users will soon be allowed to export their contacts from one social network to another, leaving each to compete on their own merits. It’s hard not to agree that this will have a fundamental effect on the social networking business and the wider Web 2.0 movement. It will certainly affect every social network startup out there, as this will now be a baseline for doing business. The jury is out on whether it will affect Facebook adversely, since it is the most closed system. Some users may leave, but then some may stay because they “feel” they can leave by exporting their contacts. The pieces in this jigsaw puzzle are now the air, and how they fall remains to be seen.