The new kids on the block are all set to make their first sprint into a new type of web. I know - we've heard that before, but I wonder if the boys from Diaspora will be one of the few to make it. A dozen ago, the lads from Google had not yet grown into the mighty men they have become in today's world and, although I'm not sure if they can take on the web giants, I wouldn't be surprised if a decade down the line, Diaspora has scattered at least a sizeable proportion of the 500 million Facebook users into another type of web engagement where we manage our own social graph.
Next month sees the release of their 'first sprint' and post-September 15 (a date often cited as Google's birthday by the way) I suspect we will see some interesting conversations. October will see the rest of us able to have a play with the ideas they have come up with during their 'northern hemisphere' summer.
Last week I blogged here about the community pages auto-generated by Facebook and the headaches that will cause not just for organisations but for the individuals whose status updates are being scooped up and used to auto-populate the auto-pages that nobody really wants.
If Diaspora helps people to 'break free' from the Facebook mindset then good on them. I wish them luck - but I am still a little cautious. I appreciate that their idea is to decentralise personal and social information and have that information scattered on a 'need to know and consent to share' basis, but I still see problems ahead if they do reach the size of Google. Google's information reach is phenomenal and I've long questioned such access being in the hands of one party. So imagine a network where the information reach is as big - but it's not train timetables, company details and maps. Instead, it's all personal. It is all about You. I understand that security will be tight, built in, bolted on, capable of dancing a jig and making the tea, but ultimately, anything is hackable.
So, watch the space carefully in the weeks and months ahead. It may spark and fizzle into nothing, but sometimes sparks take a long time to ignite. One thing is for sure, there's a sea change ahead. It will be interesting to see who battens down their information hatches and who decides to sit astride the bow and welcome the waves.
A gossipy PS concerning Google's birthday: Often cited as September 15, yet Google has doodled its birthday graphic variably on September 7, September 27 and on Google's Tenth birthday timeline, the company is said to have been registered on September 15. So an interesting choice of date for Diaspora's launch don't you think?