Operators Getting Into Social Network Aggregators

Orange is rolling out a new service for its Orange World portal that aggregates a number of popular social networking sites into a single location, with plans to later launch a standalone app version. This stuff is pretty interesting for a number of reasons.

I think it’s great that they’re trying to make things better and easier for their customers, and realize that they need to support the sites their customers want to use, rather than trying to drive them to some closed-up social network of their own invention, or whoever they’ve signed an exclusive deal with. That said, it still puts a premium on business development and dealmaking to get in front of an operator’s users; that is to say that the sites are there only after “the completion of partnership agreements”. Maybe it’s not a huge deal as they’ve got most of the big players there, and supporting every platform would be nigh-on impossible.

As I said above, it’s nice to also see that they’re not going the exclusive route. Users still maintain a presence on multiple sites and platforms, and bringing them all together into a cohesive experience will be useful (a la FriendFeed, etc.). But I think I like what’s going on here in general. There’s still plenty of room to muck things up (see T-Mobile UK’s pricing of its similar service), but I like that Orange appears to realize they need to be making the whole experience of using mobile services easier and better for their customers, even if it’s a service they’re not directly charging for or taking a cut from.

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