About six-months ago, when the whole Facebook privacy issue reached its zenith, a group of NYU students raised some funds to build Diaspora — an open source and privacy-focused social network. It generated decent buzz as a direct result of Facebook’s kerfuffles, and now it’s in open alpha.
Mashable has played around with it and from the sounds of it, no one will be ditching Facebook anytime soon.
The interface itself is clean, if a little sparse. There are no ads, there are no distractions. Unfortunately, as we’ll discuss later, there is also very little activity of any kind.
Diaspora looks a lot like any other social network, but we should note that even though this is an alpha, there is an air of incompleteness with Diaspora that’s a little disappointing. I’m a huge fan of minimalist interfaces, but Diaspora just looks desolate.
The big focus with Diaspora is that your data is portable, encrypted and selective. You can download all of your data directly from your profile — or download all of your photos. You can also close your account without having to go through any delete shenanigans a la Facebook.
I don’t think anyone was under the illusion that this would usurp Facebook, but if it makes Facebook take things like privacy seriously, well, then Diaspora will have served its purpose.