Could Facebook be used as the catalyst for a new generation of Peer-to-Peer darknet applications?
Briefly, a darknet is a private virtual network where users only connect to people they trust. This is very similar to the networks that Facebook builds. Trust is the key. You connect to close friends and relatives, giving them access to personal content not privy to your larger network as a whole.
Facebook could become an enabler for these networks, in that it provides a common point in the network through which you may connect with those trusted people. Not directly, but via Facebook’s new applications interface, or via exisiting network tools that Facebook supports directly, such as MSN, Gmail, etc.
One such darknet application may be Peer-to-Peer shared backups. Imagine making an agreement with your relatives, that you would each devote 2GB of hard-drive space to keeping the family photo pool backed up. Some clever Open Source software could keep the photo pool maintained, distributed among all of your computers. The sharing tool could use a Facebook application for peer discovery.
You could even route new content over existing tools. I wonder, if you could install the iLike application, could you use it to publish new content for your friends, and hook an Open Source content sharing tool into the iLike interface to handle the transfer? iLike publishes what’s new, Facebook publishes your content share points, and the Open Source tool handles the data.
Using Facebook to publish content discovery and sharing points opens the door to federated services, allowing you to get your network out of the hands of commercial parties. If I could publish the address of a personal server on Facebook (a server that I own, running my own services), then I could start building networks and sharing with others outside of Facebook. And I would once again have control of my identity within those networks – I won’t have to rely on the Facebook privacy controls, or anything like that.
Just some ideas.