Open doesn’t always mean Open

There is a growing critique on companies such as Facebook and Apple that build there ecosystems on closed and often proprietary standards. However often the use of an open standard is just a facade. Since open doesn’t always mean open in best case it is just less closed.

In a conversation I had on Twitter with Werner Keil he provided me with information that Twitter will be using an open standard called Java Social. Which in general is a good thing. However makes it Twitter any more open than it is now? I don’t think so. Since there is still no way to get all my tweets out of Twitter. Even the basic Twitter search doesn’t go back for a bit more than a week. So Twitter is closed even though they use open standards, since you cannot get anything out.

Google is praised for their activities in the data liberation front. However the data liberation front is in some cases just a facade. If you can get your Google+ data out, though their is no way to import this data into something else, what is the use of getting it out in the first place? It is nice there is a way out, though as long as that is in a format you cannot import elsewhere it is just some openess-theater, not something really open.

Of course open comes from two sides and Google probably would say that somebody else should build an importer for Google+ theater for other networks. However some networks / platforms already have standards (proprietary and open) and Google isn’t exporting its data according to those standards.

So beware of the openess-theater, since open doesn’t always mean open. Plus open doesn’t always mean better, it is just a different approach for doing things.