Thursday, November 01, 2007

Groundswell (Incorporating Charlene Li's Blog): Google OpenSocial will (hopefully) make social apps more relevant

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a parallel universe.  For example, I just don't see the big deal in Open Social -- sure, it could remove a few annoying proprietary API hurdles etc., if it's broadly adopted, but where's the huge value-add potential?  And why do some many in the press and blogosphere appear to believe Facebook and MySpace will shun Open Social?

Google and a slew of partners announced the formation of OpenSocial (URL will be live late Thursday), which Google's Joe Kraus, in a briefing earlier this week with me, described as "a common set of API's for building social applications across multiple sites." There are three specific sets of APIs that tap into 1) member profiles, 2) the social graph, and 3) member activities.

The idea is that developers would have to learn only one set of social app APIs and create apps that will work on any partner's platform. Moreover, the OpenSocial API is written in HTML and javascript (and supports Flash), compared to Facebook's proprietary API. Initial partners in the new API include social networking sites Friendster, hi5, Ning, Orkut, Plaxo, and Viadeo, as well as application companies Oracle and Salesforce.com.

I also have yet to see compelling "social platform" apps, despite playing along with all the app junk people have thrown at me in Facebook.

Groundswell (Incorporating Charlene Li's Blog): Google OpenSocial will (hopefully) make social apps more relevant

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