90 thoughts on “OpenSocial, Google's Open Answer to Facebook”

  1. Om,
    I was hoping you’d elaborate much more commenting on the strategy of Google. In my very limited understanding, I don’t see this as a potential threat to Facebook from the advertising perspective. Would Google have access to the user profile of all the “hosts”? So, what if its providing this API to tie in widget development? Apart from taking away the exclusivity of some of FB apps (perhaps) how is Google benefiting here? (Apart from the orkut data it has ofcoz).

    I thought you could comment on these issues rather than having an “informative” post which is more like a news headline repeat.


  2. Isn’t this becoming more and more confusing. There is a old saying ” When Elephants make love or war the grass gets trampled”

    FOr small businesses who are looking to use social media to futher thier business whare do they start ?

  3. Does this mean I’ll be able to add my friends to any one of the networks and it will get added to all of them? What does this mean for users of these host networks, apart from the proliferation of apps?

  4. Om,
    what role is google playing here. Are they trying to be the middle man for all the developer community and small startups that write widgets. If that is the case- who is making the money?. Or- are they playing the role of a widgetbox with API’s to access other social network community.
    Even I have written something about this news in my blog. Neverthless, I would love to hear your insights on this.

  5. The timing of this announcement was likely driven more by the markets than by technical/internet issues. Google had to respond to Microsoft’s moves so they needed to get this announcement done. More info and a clearer picture in the near future.

  6. “OpenSocial attacks Facebook where it is the weakest (and the strongest): its quintessential closed nature ”
    Isnt that what gives a social network users the ‘warm & fuzzy’ feeling that they are ‘connected’ to only the people they trust , anyways ?

  7. this is all very good . but how will it stop mass exodus of users from Xing ,Hi5,Friendster to Facebook. Its not clear how Google is adding value to the equation here . do they seriously think that API Brokerage is a long term competitive advantage .
    or they are trying to put forward and standardized a Soc. Nw. Markup language ? later makes more sense as this Markup language will be tightly coupled with AdSense .

    But this is a risky strategy because if they fail in doing that it will be a validation for facebook .Given the growing product line of Google its very very unlikely that this product will get enough
    management bandwidth . this might be fatal for the initiative .

    Hi5,friendster ,Xing have made alliance with Google to boost their usage ,if this fail, say in 02 years max is it very hard to imagine these Tier 2 Soc. Nw opening up their gates for supporting Facebook API based application too .

    After all you loose your virginity only once and than you can’t go back to it.

  8. This is about more than widgets. Essentially this is OpenID + Social Graph in one API, open to any app developer.

    Flixster, iLike, RockYou etc. will love this because they can now create apps that are “socially aware” and are not limited to being inside the Facebook walled garden. Imagine going to iLike for the first time, already having login creds and an existing network of friends that you can interact with without having to re-establish them. That is where this thing is going to really take off.

    Oh and let’s not forget that Google is/probably has been consuming these APIs themselves. One obvious scenario: No longer having to keep your GMail address book up to date manually. Your social graph is your rolodex.

  9. Google strikes back- Microsoft better listen! or?

    From my understanding I think that Google is making itself as a platform to launch social networks which is similar to any operating system. Would this strategy work? TOugh to tell now. Since google is having its own social networking site, we don’t know how its competitors would like to collaborate with google. Wait and watch is my advice!

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  11. This will be quite awesome if it runs as good as the rest of the google api/web services like google maps, I have quite a few unused domains laying around that i will have to dust off any give a run at this.

  12. Well Google is definitely making sure Microsoft’s investment and momentum is of no use now. Its killing two birds with one stone, may be three (myspace, facebook, microsoft). Google is definitely hurting Microsoft big time and making them nervous and make mistakes. Not to mention apple is not making Microsoft life easier as well.
    Anyway this is more of a sensible move rather than invent a new phenomenon, let us concentrate on synerging whats already their.

    Some lesson for Linux vendors, to follow googles lead.

  13. This was only one PART of what I wanted to see from google. I was also hoping that google would construct a graph with an API from their several properties ( YouTube , Gmail , Orkut , IGoogle).

  14. On further analyzing this, it is a SOA strategy, Google has just taken the leaf out of that and is putting the pieces together to build an open and interoperable platform. This will hurt myspace, facebookMicrosoft) and yahoo in coming months as Google has the potential to make others less significant players . For me one noticeable player missing is digg.com, rest are all good.

  15. I don’t use Orkut, hi5 (which spams your address book and sends invites to EVERYONE without your consent), Flixter (similarly dubious), or ANY these other sites OpenSocial is collaborating with. Why can’t Google integrate Last.FM, YouTube, LJ–in a nutshell, sites PEOPLE ACTUALLY VISIT REGULARLY.

  16. A few questions I haven’t seen anybody raise yet:

    1. Are these APIs / Protocols going to be standardized by any international standards body (ECMA, OSI, IETF, etc) or will the always be under Google’s control?

    2. What will the terms of use be? Eg, if I want my social network host to support OpenSocial, what are the license terms to implement OS?

    3. Will Google provide any implementation of the protocols for (server side | client side | both | neither)? If so, how will they be licensed?

    Personally I think this sounds like a good thing in general, but until they actually release whatever it is they’re releasing, I worry that a lot of us are putting the cart before the horse.

    Finally, if anybody is interested in building a truly decentralized, federated social networking platform (Open Source, of course) see https://openqabal.dev.java.net.

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  18. Has anyone checked out the links
    from the “Who’s Using It” Site on
    Google’s OpenSocial ?

    Some of the sites are made by companies
    and some are personal.
    but this site has a virus!!


    When I accessed the site ,my Security Software
    caught a virus! (script?)

    anyone else??

  19. I agree with John McCrea, OpenSocial will foster innovation. In any discipline, openness and collaboration foster innovation – the open source software movement is one example of this. The trend towards opening up API’s is creating a range of novel applications. It also makes the end user experience less fragmented and more useful and personally relevant. The user needs to feel empowered with the new wave of applications and not as though they’re being randomly bitten by a chump unless they request to be!
    Developers need to consider building end user choice and control into their cross platform social apps.

  20. OpenSocial is sure going to cause a revolution in the social networking arena. I believe its still in quite a nascent stage, but with so much momentum behind it, it should grow fast into becoming the default social network platform.
    Some sites have already spawned aiming to bring OpenSocial developers together. Check this out-

  21. for my boys in 215
    what it do and how
    it do… for anybody else
    hi, hello and have a nice day.. early

  22. hey Nano – sorry about that issue you had with puxa.com (I own the site). I had a development team do some work and they had a bad script that caused what you saw. Needless to say, the code is completely different now & I no longer do work with that development team.

  23. I don’t know if they can really get somewhere with that as almost everyone is already registered at one or more social networks and how much more can people really handle? isn’t it enough already?

    The should simply develop an existing social network to the open source network they had in mind.

    I hope that for once Google won’t be as successful.

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