In a post I came across this morning, Paul Buchheit (the guy who created Gmail) makes an interesting point, which is that many other services — including Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and LinkedIn — allow you to import your addresses from some other program or service. I just finished doing exactly that with Last.fm, and I’ve done it with countless other services as well, including (most recently) an aggregator called Spokeo.
So how come you can do that with every service except Facebook? That doesn’t seem right. The Data Portability Group has extended an invitation to the site to join their push for a single standard. Marc Canter thinks we need better access controls for our data, and Chris “Factory Joe” Messina thinks that we need to move away from using our email addresses as the core of our online identities, and move towards a URL-based system. One thing is for sure: this issue isn’t going to go away.