Will Google Connect the dots before Facebook does?

In the very Macaron flavoured world of the Melbourne Food Blogosphere everyone seems to use blogspot. I don’t usually have much to say about Blogger but more out of pure ignorance than any steadfast knowledge of its technical merits. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to use it, probably opting for the more independent, open-source based WordPress.com for a hosted blogging solution. However one thing I have noticed is the prominence of Google Connect paraphenalia in the sidebar of many of these blogs. These widgets allow me to “follow” each blog, what this means I have no idea as I thought I already was “following” them in my Google Reader account. Surely this has some other functionality other than me giving the blog owner nothing more than a vote of confidence that someone else likes their website.

The other thing that I have noticed recently is the growing prominence of Facebook Connect logins on a number of websites. Each of these things growing is a sign of things to come and I’m sorry FriendFeed but you aren’t involved. The minute one of these 2 systems starts providing me, and my friends (my real not geeky internet type friends) some real value they will go ballistic.

Already I’m liking the Twitter/FriendFeed style flow that has been brought to my Facebook page, not the AJAX fueled “Live Status” updates that was there before, but the I refresh the page and there is something new there every time style updates. Old friends I haven’t spoken to in a while have sent me messages, I’ve seen photos I wouldn’t have seen and I’m feeling the love for Facebook again. It’s just a matter of time until I start seeing every website that anyone has performed an action on showing up in there and being able to comment on it.

Likewise I think that is what is missing from Google’s network, a home page, a public profile page, a place where people can come and see that I’ve found a heap of cool new blogs today, found a love of commenting on blogs and generally learnt how to truly waste time in the blogosphere and that doesn’t include the hour I spent on Google Reader this morning.

There is a heap of different technologies at play here, Jabber/XMPP, RSS/Readers, Social Networking, Blogs, Comments, Forums and Status. Saying that tying them together is the next big thing is like closing the gate after the horse has bolted, but I can’t wait until one of these massive companies can tie them all together.

Jabbot: A personal microblogging system

There has been much talk on a variety of blogs demanding a replacement for Twitter. Now having only used Twitter in a very limited and conceited testing way I’m not qualified to speak about all of the features and what the can’t live without features of it are.

I’ve been working on more of a friends-only level of microblogging solution. It operates by monitoring people’s Jabber status and logging them to a viewable webpage, these status lists are then followable with RSS. This project is called Jabbot and there is a test bot currently running, just add test@wakeless.net to your Jabber IM list and then check the webpage at http://dev.wakeless.net/jabbot/ Any status updates you make will show up there. There is also RSS feeds on a per-user basis.

Now this doesn’t seem like anything overly special, just a way of logging people’s status. However this get’s interesting when you log the bot in as yourself, all those people that you already chat with can now update their status and have them sent through to your follow page.

There is obviously a few problems with this as a replacement for Twitter, running a script/bot on your machine isn’t really as turnkey as just adding your account to twitter, however the infrastructure is already in place, every Google Talk user and possibly in the future every Facebook chat user (assuming they become federated which I’m not actually convinced about) will all be “followable”.

This has been banged together while I’ve been learning Python so it might not be the prettiest code. The source code is available, it’s released under GPL. Jabbot-0.1

Google Talk, Dreamhost and Jabber

This is awesome, Google Talk has enabled XMPP Federation meaning that I can set up a Jabber server, and have it linked in to the Google Talk network. I can see some awesome benefits of this, not least of all the decentralizing of the instant messengers.

Companies will be able to run their own servers and control the communication past the firewall. People like me will be able to set up a server to serve their friends with more features that the old (lock-in) instant messenger networks won’t support, and best of all it’s open.