MySpace, Google and Facebook share content with other sites

On Thursday, MySpace announced a system that will allow users to port data like profile pictures and other social content between their site and other trusted sites. On board so far are Yahoo!, Twitter, Photobucket, and eBay. The thinking was to create a platform or central profile control, with MySpace as the hub. This would let the data go only one direction, and secure MySpace a spot in the future of this multi-site profile sharing world... except...

Facebook quickly followed suit Friday with their announcement of Facebook Connect, a similar system to allow the sharing of privacy-restricted social content on other sites like Digg, but also was quick to add that the same privacy and control will be in the hands of users. Sorry MySpace. From the FB Blog:

Trusted Authentication
Users will be able to connect their Facebook account with any partner website using a trusted authentication method. Whether at login, or anywhere else a developer would like to add social context, the user will be able to authenticate and connect their account in a trusted environment. The user will have total control of the permissions granted.

Real Identity
Facebook users represent themselves with their real names and real identities. With Facebook Connect, users can bring their real identity information with them wherever they go on the Web, including: basic profile information, profile picture, name, friends, photos, events, groups, and more.

Friends Access
Users count on Facebook to stay connected to their friends and family. With Facebook Connect, users can take their friends with them wherever they go on the Web. Developers will be able to add rich social context to their websites. Developers will even be able to dynamically show which of their Facebook friends already have accounts on their sites.

Dynamic Privacy
As a user moves around the open Web, their privacy settings will follow, ensuring that users' information and privacy rules are always up-to-date. For example, if a user changes their profile picture, or removes a friend connection, this will be automatically updated in the external website.
Google is also in on the sharing action, and may actually be the instigator. It seems that Google's Friend Connect has many of the same features and descriptions as Facebook (although with a Google spin) and even goes so far as to name Facebook as a site that will play ball with Google.

So what does this mean to the user? People often complain about the need to keep multiple profiles up-to-date. Changing pictures, maintaining different identities, and deciding what level of information will be shared based on the level of trust with the site. Now, assuming you have a trust level with MySpace or Facebook or Google, the privacy settings need only be determined once.

Facebook has had some issued with sharing data across other sites, and I'm referring to their 'Beacon' troubles of September of last year. Even though they've announced that the service will be available in the next few weeks, I can see this being a cautious foray for the average user.

On top of the obvious security concerns, sometimes being multiple people is advantageous. You may choose to be a little more liberal in your profile for Facebook than you would for say-- LinkedIn, and for those that are currently friends with 13,500 punk bands on MySpace, I could see a different level of expectations for their sync'd Facebook profile. At the same time, my Google account controls my blog, my adsense, my GMail, and many other Google Services-- do I want to risk that account/personality in the rest of the web? It should be interesting to see how it rolls out, but at the end of the day-- if it doesn't work-- who cares? These companies are extremely well funded, and can afford to throw a few things at the wall.