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MySpace, the world’s most popular social network, alongside Yahoo!, eBay, Photobucket, and Twitter, today announced the launch of the MySpace ‘Data Availability’ initiative, a ground-breaking offering to empower the global MySpace community to share their public profile data to websites of their choice throughout the Internet. Today’s announcement throws open the doors to traditionally closed networks by putting users in the driver’s seat of their data and Web identity. The launch of the Data Availability initiative marks the first time that a social Website has enabled its community to dynamically share public profile information with other sites.

MySpace Data Availability on Twitter.

“The walls around the garden are coming down-the implementation of Data Availability injects a new layer of social activity and creates a more dynamic Internet,” said Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace. “We, alongside our Data Availability launch partners, are pioneering a new way for the global community to integrate their social experiences Web-wide.”

Data Availability – User Interface

Data Availability pioneers a new way for users to dynamically share their user generated content and data with websites of their choosing. The Data Availability initiative is founded first and foremost on the simple and comprehensive user control of their own content and data – users will have control over what information they share and who they share it with.

Additionally, rather than updating information across the Web (eg. default photo, favorite movies or music) for each site where a user spends time, now a user can update their profile in one place and dynamically share that information with the other sites they care about. MySpace will be rolling out a centralized location within the site that allows users to manage how their content and data is made available to third party sites they have chosen to engage with.

Inside this opt-in framework, they will be offered the opportunity to share their MySpace profiles with the site they are visiting. MySpace, and its landmark launch partners, will be allowing users to dynamically share the content and data of their choosing including: (1) Publicly available basic profile information, (2) MySpace photos, (3) MySpaceTV videos, and (4) friend networks. Integration of the Data Availability project will roll to MySpace users and participating Websites in the coming weeks.

“The launch of Data Availability is an unprecedented move to further socialize the Web and empower users to control their online content and data,” said Amit Kapur, Chief Operating Officer, MySpace. “We are thrilled to begin this initiative with a world class suite of landmark partners and invite websites around the world to participate.”

Partner Website Functionality

Data Availability is about enriching existing Internet destinations with social functionality and valuable pre-existing user generated content and data.  By empowering users with the ability to dynamically share, those destinations will create deeper levels of social engagement and new functionality throughout their site. As the online home to 117 million users worldwide, this groundbreaking initiative enables the larger Web to leverage the highly engaged and passionate MySpace global community.

To ease implementation for participating sites, the MySpace Data Availability initiative uses OAUTH and Restful APIs as its core technology underpinnings. MySpace is using open standards in an effort to embrace the open source community and allow the implementation to be as non-proprietary as possible. Today’s announcement is the first step of MySpace’s larger data portability initiatives coming down the pipeline. MySpace is officially joining the Data Portability Project demonstrating our continued commitment to openness and open standards.

Data Availability on Yahoo!

MySpace’s Data Availability complements Yahoo!’s recently announced Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS), a company-wide initiative to open Yahoo! to application developers, unlock the rich social connections across the Yahoo! network, and enable users to customize and make more personally relevant their experiences of Yahoo! and other Internet services.

On Yahoo!, the Data Availability initiative may appear to users in a variety of ways.  For example, users that have chosen to share their MySpace content and data with Yahoo! Instant Messenger might find their MySpace default photo, interests, and favorite music displayed to their Messenger contacts directly in the IM client.  Additionally, MySpace users will be able to choose to display their data within Yahoo!’s universal profile or leverage it in Yahoo! Mail’s smarter inbox, once those upcoming releases are deployed.

“Yahoo! believes in an open Internet that gives users the flexibility to make their Web experiences as relevant, social and personalized as they can.  As a longtime collaborator with MySpace on a variety of projects, including the OpenSocial Foundation, we’re thrilled to support this new initiative,” said Ash Patel, Executive Vice President, Platforms, at Yahoo!.  “The Yahoo! Open Strategy and MySpace Data Availability are a giant leap towards a more social and open Internet.”

Data Availability on eBay

Through the MySpace Data Availability implementation, eBay profiles can be easily enhanced with MySpace bios, interests, pictures, and videos. In a socially driven marketplace, this will yield a deeper connection between individuals. When browsing or transacting on eBay, the availability of external social information can help users make good decisions quickly about whom they can do business with, and perhaps even make a new friend.

“The MySpace Data Availabilityinitiative will further enrich eBay profiles and create a more elaborate social experience for buyers and sellers worldwide,” said Matt Ackley, VP of Internet Marketing of eBay.  “As the world’s largest social commerce site, eBay is dedicated to creating a social context and personality for the people with whom you transact.”

Data Availability on Photobucket

MySpace’s Data Availability initiative will allow Photobucket users to enjoy a more seamless photo experience with their MySpace profile.  Photobucket users will be able to have a single view of their photos across multiple services, as well as opt-in to displaying their MySpace profile data in their Photobucket albums.  Users will also be able to leverage their existing connections on MySpace to share their content on Photobucket more easily, without having to re-establish connections and friend lists.

“MySpace users invest a huge amount of time populating their profile and personal interest data.  With the large overlap in users, the Data Availability initiative will allow Photobucket to utilize this profile data to enhance its own products,” said Alex Welch, President of Photobucket.  “The combination of the Data Availability initiative and the recently announced Photobucket Open-API provides new opportunities to create a more open web”

Data Availability on Twitter

Twitter profiles at present are primarily focused on current updates and are relatively sparse on user information. The MySpace Data Availability initiative enriches the current Twitter profile by empowering users to incorporate their MySpace profile content and data points previously not included in the Twitter product suite.  Once the implementation is complete, a user will be able to bring in their MySpace content and data including their bio, blogs, and photos, ultimately making the Twitter site a more enriching site with content previously unavailable in its interface.

“Finding friends to follow is central to Twitter’s value as a real-time communication utility.” Says Biz Stone, Co-founder, Twitter. “This project enhances discovery and connectivity making Twitter more relevant and useful-we’re very excited.”

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Bloggers, webmasters, online journalists and anyone else who publishes regularly on the Internet can now get free subscriptions to Britannica Online.

Anyone interested in participating in Britannica’s new WebShare initiative can apply for a free subscription at http://signup.eb.com or get more information at http://britannicanet.com.

The free subscriptions are part of Britannica’s effort to increase awareness and use of its extensive information resources, which include articles written by many top scholars, some of them Nobel laureates.

“It’s good business for us and a benefit to people who publish on the Net,” said Britannica president Jorge Cauz. “The level of professionalism among Web publishers has really improved, and we want to recognize that by giving access to the people who are shaping the conversations about the issues of the day. Britannica belongs in the middle of those conversations.”

In addition to the free subscriptions, Web publishers can also bring the value of Britannica’s content to their own sites by linking to any articles they find relevant to the topics they’re writing about.

Access to much of the site, including full-text entries from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, normally requires a paid subscription. There’s an exception to that rule, however: When a Web site links to a Britannica article Web surfers who click on that link get the article in its entirety.

“This means that when you’re writing something for the Web, whether it’s about Tibet, the U.S. presidential election, global warming or the Peace of Westphalia, you can give your readers additional information about the topic just by pointing them to the appropriate Britannica articles,” said Cauz. “If an article normally requires a subscription to access it, your readers will get it anyway, even if they’re not subscribers.

“Bloggers, journalists, and Web sites link all the time, of course, but they may not realize they have the option of pointing to Britannica articles. So let me be clear: they do.”

Cauz said that Web publishers can link to as many Britannica articles as they like. The company also plans to provide special tools, such as widgets and clusters of topical articles related to current events that will make it easy for online publishers to find and use Britannica material on their sites.

The public is also invited to follow Britannica’s Twitter stream, a daily “tweet” featuring a link to a Britannica article pertinent to the news of the day. This feature, at http://twitter.com/EBWebshare, requires a free account.

Additional features designed to facilitate the use of Britannica content around the Web will be introduced in the months ahead.

Interested writers and publishers can go to http://britannicanet.com for more. The site has instructions, a registration form, currently available topic clusters, eligibility guidelines, and a Britannica-written blog to keep visitors up to date on the program and how it is being used. The social media version of this release is available at http://britannicanet.com/?page_id=34.

About Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a leader in reference and education publishing whose products can be found in many media, from the Internet to cell phones to books. A pioneer in electronic publishing since the early 1980s, the company also still publishes the 32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica, along with services such as Britannica Online School Edition and new printed products, which are available online at http://store.britannica.com. The company makes its headquarters in Chicago.

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