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Le Web: Mobile Apps

A good chunk of the morning has been taken up with talking about mobile, and its role in the future of the web. Jack Dorsey’s talk was about Square, his platform for mobile payments. 
The Le Web iPhone app is a pretty good example of how mobile can add real value against the paper product. It can be updated at 2am the night before the conference, for example (as Loïc admitted on stage). But it’s more than just listings – it allows aggregation of content created around the conference. It’s built on a platform called MobileRoadie.

Scoble at Le Web 2009

And onwards to a panel about mobile. This should be riveting, but isn’t somehow. The panel seem to be deep in statements of the obvious, including repeatedly stating that it isn’t all about the iPhone, despite Scoble asking people to hold up their iPhones, and virtually everyone in the pres/blogger pit having one. 
So, many of the network providers are rubbish and hard to deal with, and Nokia still ships more phones than Apple. These are arguments that have been rehearsed to death.
I think the two key issues that seem to be coming out of the discussion are these:
  • In-app purchasing is going to be big, because it’s the major path to on-going revenue for app developers
  • Discovery is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. The app store is full of apps, and being featured by Apple staff can have a huge impact on how your sales go. 

Facebook Owns Your Friendships

Robert Scoble

I've been Twittering about this all morning, after I spotted the story on Techcrunch UK, so it's about time I posted about it. That shy, retiring blogger known as Robert Scoble has managed to get himself booted from Facebook. His crime? Using a script to "scrape" out the friendship relationship he's stored in Facebook. (Those relationships are known as "the social graph" to techie types.)

Now, to be fair, he has violated the terms of service, as Paul Walsh points out on the BIMA blog. But it does point to a larger issue. Paul points out that "social media gurus" should be well aware that the relationship data you enter into Facebook is theirs, not yours. You can use it within Facebook but you can't export it out and use it elsewhere. 

This isn't an exclusive problem to Facebook, admittedly. I can't export the friendship relationships I've put into Vox, Flickr or Livejournal either. 
And Facebook et al almost certainly have good commercial reasons for that. In many way, the ability to input and use that data is the key selling point of the social network and they want to keep that unique to keep the users attached to the service.

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