Imagine a world in which your social data (e.g. messages, photos, videos) was easier to work with. For instance, imagine you could try out a new photo sharing service without having to move all of your photos and social graph.
In this world, your photos are held in a data store controlled by you. If you want to try out a new service, you can seamlessly login and choose to give permission to that service, and the photos that you have granted access to would be immediately available.
This is one benefit of an “unbundled” social service. Unbundling gives the user power to pick the software that best suits their needs, rather than being forced to use the software made by the company that manages their data.
This is a really big step for what has, to date, been a paid Twitter competitor. Now, App.net competes with iCloud and Dropbox. The name suddenly makes sense.
Jon Mitchell of ReadWrite
Web speculates that this feature could drop the price of the Twitter-esque aspects of App.net to free:
By providing the 10 GB of cloud storage to paid accounts, App.net makes a new tier of pricing possible that could allow social-only accounts to be free. Suddenly, App.net would be just like Twitter, only with a thriving ecosystem of client apps, the possibility of upgrading to a powerful, cloud-backed service, and no ads whatsoever.
This is a smart move by Caldwell and the rest of the App.net folks.