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September 04, 2006

Integration Drives Web 2.0

Listened to the Gillmor Gang’s VRM Gang Part III and they paraphrased Guy Kawasaki on what he, as a VC, looks for in new business plans:

I don't want to see a business plan that talks about destroying a competitor. Consumes don't want the competitors killed off, they want to see the service/companies co-exist or even better, work together.

Regardless of exactly how you define the nebulous term of Web 2.0, the premise of integration is one of it’s fundamental underpinning. I raise this idea because of a few news items from last week that addressed the issue of whether a Web 2.0 bubble exists:

  1. Tim Berners-Lee calls for Web 2.0 calm
  2. TechCrunch’s interview with prominent VC Paul Graham. Read Fred’s analysis too.

What do I mean by integration?

Case in Point:
I’ve used a few Upcoming.org RSS feeds to monitor shows coming to D.C. and just yesterday registered so that I could comment about the upcoming Broken Social Scene show at 9:30. When it gave me the option to add an avatar/photo to my profile, I immediately started debating which place it would be easiest to grab my standard silhouette profile photo, from my blog, Flickr, or Last.fm.

Imagine my surprise and delight then, when Upcoming gave me the option to automatically import my Flickr profile photo, exactly the one I wanted. It asked for the email address associated with my Flickr account and since it was the same as the once I registered with Upcoming, I clicked the button and there was the photo. How easy and simple.

Want more integration for your music listening needs?

  1. Tourb.us integrates Upcoming’s events feeds features like Upcoming’s events feeds with your Last.fm preferences (thanks to Gary for that correction)
  2. Partystrands aims to be Last.fm + Digg

Conclusion:
Integration of services, especially open web services via APIs, is one of the large value drivers of Web 2.0. Or as Fred points out about social software in particular (italics added),

The best social software doesn't require any effort or work as he calls it...Social software at its best doesn't require any incremental effort (setup and integration are fast and simple) . We are just at the beginnings of all of this anyway, when the geeks and the hackers are doing it and nobody else is. But mark my word, social software is the future. I am sure of it.

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