Redanyway, a distributed social network
Redanyway is one of a number of distributed social networks that is beginning to emerge. Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect. It was Techcrunch'd last week so more people are likely to have seen it now.
As TechCrunch says, it's a bit like "MyBlogLog on steroids". The concept of followers etc. is now more widely known from both MyBlogLog, Twitter, and so on. The "asymmetric follow" concept -- where people can be fans / followers / etc. is a good one, as it actually allows scale ... as opposed to Facebook, where both sides have to confirm a connection (and why they have groups and pages which are asymmetric).
Like the other systems, it's currently widget / plugin based. Here is the widget embbeded in this post -- I may end up adding it to a sidebar on the site here as I experiment with Google and Facebook's offerings. MyBlogLog? Yeah, that widget is gone (another Yahoo early lead squandered...). Does anyone actively use MyBlogLog these days?
Ultimately, my issue with these systems is that they don't semi-permeably integrate into any existing community. I define community pretty narrowly: sites that actually support full account logins with some level of customization that you can do once you have an account. That leaves out most blogging only platforms (e.g. WordPress), but includes larger Drupal sites that allow and encourage . I'm especially interested to see how BuddyPress (a beta release today, I believe) might play into this space.
We do have the component tech pieces to build this distributed system -- OAuth, OpenID, and so on. But, we don't have great UIs nor great uses cases that make people want to use this functionality today. It's going to be interesting to see how this space evolves. Scobleizer calls it the "war over your blog's friends".
Disclaimer: I am evaluating Redanyway as a potential candidate for Bootup Labs.