OpenSocial: Game On!

cross posted from the Online Community Report:

Google announced OpenSocial this week, which, as my ForumOne colleague Kurt describes is:

a set of web API’s that will let developers write applications that plug into any participating social network (launch partners include Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Flixter, Friendster, Orkut, and others).

This announcement effectively does for the web what FaceBook’s API platform did for their single social network, allowing developers to tap into:
Profile Information (user data)
Friends Information (social graph)
* Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)

This is going to shake things up a bit, I imagine. Facebook has been getting a lot o attention lately, and should be given kudos for creating the best social experience to date (within their walled garden), and a rich API (that works within their walled garden), but to me, Facebook has always felt like I was looking at the Internet through a keyhole. OpenSocial acknowledges that there is a much larger space to play in, and many playgrounds.

Anil Dash sums facebook up this way:

…Facebook is part of the web. Think of the web, of the Internet itself, as water. Proprietary platforms based on the web are ice cubes. They can, for a time, suspend themselves above the web at large. But over time, they only ever melt into the water. And maybe they make it better when they do.

Marc Andresen has done a lot of writing over the last few days about the implications of OpenSocial, and how this will affect social networking experiences and apps longer term. This is highly recommended reading:

Open Social: a new universe of social applications all over the web

Report from the front: Tonight’s launch of Open Social

I haven’t got my head around exactly what this all means… but it’s big. Big, as in, I’m up at 4am on a Saturday morning, and I can’t sleep because I keep thinking about the promise of a future Social Network made up of the smaller, disconnected pieces we have today.

Bill Johnston - Founder, Structure3C. Former Head of Community at Dell & Autodesk. Mobile: (415) 233-6914 Twitter: @billjohnston LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/billj In a sentence: Seasoned online community and social media executive and advisor with over 15 years experience developing large scale online communities, social media initiatives and successful online product strategies.
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