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Google OpenSocial API consistent app platform, bye Facebook!
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You are currently in Programming, Web and Software Design/Development
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Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:28 pm Reply and quote this post
Looks like facebook and its walled garden are left in the dust. It never pays to have a closed system!

It's going to be an open API system, develop an API that is compatible for all
of the social networks mutually, on the easy to use HTML/Javascript... none of
the facebook FBML crap! Thats the end of facebook apps, and the beginning
of much more profitable and worthwhile development for all of the social networks
involves, Great news for the development community and marketers! OpenSocial
is commonly described as a more open cross-platform alternative
to the Facebook Platform.

Facebook has shown us that putting your users in a "Walled garden" has
done nothing to hurt their popularity, in the time being - though those applications
are following suit with myspace in attracting a certain kind of audience!

Just like the comments about facebook here: Internet better off without blogs? - blogs are overrated!

...then theres the irritation factor...

The revolutionary part about the web was that anyone can build on it, with a
standard set of protocols and language. Its great that Facebook is letting other
people code "Apps" in their environment, but so far, there not much more than
Social Networking viruses. Then theres the irritation factor - like I said earlier,
it will turn away some more serious users that were turned away from MySpace
- we're starting to see chain-messages and "spam" amongst certain applications.

"...never felt so bullied by people to join a site"

Saw Charman, a FOWA speaker said "[He's] never felt so bullied by people to join
a site" And when I get dogmatic about it I get suspicious".

"It's a Web 1.0 idea in a Web2.0"

She added, "Facebook is a walled garden, so you can't see whats there unless
you join and you can't take any of your data out once you have entered it." "It
seems to be a move back to the days of AOL away from the etos of openness, portability
and reusability. It's a Web 1.0 idea in a Web2.0.

In the FOWA backnetwork HOT OR NOT for 2008 sites we'll be loving/hating for
2008, Facebook is listed as not, alongide delicious and yahoo mail for varios

MySpace: Hot or Not?Read/WriteWeb

Facebook is being painted as the closed outsider while everyone else is allowing
the use of non proprietary coding platforms (Facebook requires the use of FBML,
not HTML) and portability of applications.

How did they turn into the bad guys so quickly? No matter what they do, Google
has pulled off an absolute coup.

For their part, Google will certainly want Facebook's participation. But they
had to get everyone else on board first, before Facebook would even consider
it. An open platform means no social network has any advantage over any
other when it comes to third party applications. The playing field has been evened,
and no one wins. Except Google. They always win.

So on to Open Social...

The new project, called OpenSocial (URL will go live on Thursday), goes well
beyond what we've previously reported. It is a set of common APIs that
application developers can use to create applications that work on any social
networks (called 'hosts') that choose to participate.

What they haven't done is launch yet another social network platform. As
more and more of these platforms launch, developers have difficult choices to
make. There are costs associated with writing and maintaining applications forthese
social networks. Most developers will choose one or two platforms and ignorethe
rest, based on a simple cost/benefit analysis.

Google wants to create an easy way for developers to create an application that
works on all social networks. And if they pull it off, they'll be in the center,
controlling the network.

What They're Launching
OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners,
that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:

  • Profile Information (user data)
  • Friends Information (social graph)
  • Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)

Hosts agree to accept the API calls and return appropriate data. Google won't
try to provide universal API coverage for special use cases, instead focusing
on the most common uses. Specialized functions/data can be accessed from the
hosts directly via their own APIs.

Unlike Facebook, OpenSocial does not have its own markup language (Facebook requires
use of FBML for security reasons, but it also makes code unusable outside of
Facebook). Instead, developers use normal javascript and html (and can embed
Flash elements). The benefit of the Google approach is that developers can use
much of their existing front end code and simply tailor it slightly for OpenSocial,
so creating applications is even easier than on Facebook.

Applications can have full functionality on profile and/or canvas pages, subject
to the specific rules of each host. Facebook, by contrast, limits most functionality
to the canvas page, allowing a widget on the profile page with limited features.

OpenSocial is silent when it comes to specific rules and policies of the hosts,
like whether or not advertising is accepted or whether any developer can get
in without applying first (the Facebook approach). Hosts set and enforce their
own policies. The APIs are created with maximum flexibility.

Launch Partners
Partners are in two categories: hosts and developers. Hosts are the participating
social networks, and include Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster,
Viadeo and Oracle.

Developers include Flixster, iLike, RockYou and Slide.

What This Means
The timing of OpenSocial couldn't be better. Developers have been complaining
non stop about the costs of learning yet another markup launguage for every new
social network platform, and taking developer time in creating and maintaining
the code. Someone had to build a system to streamline this (as we said in the
last few sentences in this post). And Facebook-fear has clearly driven good partners
to side with Google. Developers will immediately start building on these APIs
to get distribution across the impressive list of hosts above.

And they'll do it soon, too. It's clear that the developers who arrived early
to the Facebook Platform party won easy customers. Those that came later had
to fight much harder. Developers found their new gold strike, and they will soon
all be there, mining away.

Google Information, Offical:
The web is better when it's social

The web is more interesting when you can build apps that easily interact
with your friends and colleagues. But with the trend towards more social applications
also comes a growing list of site-specific APIs that developers must learn.

OpenSocial provides a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple
websites. With standard JavaScript and HTML, developers can create apps that
access a social network's friends and update feeds.

Many sites, one API
Common APIs mean you have less to learn to build for multiple websites.
OpenSocial is currently being developed by Google in conjunction with members
of the web community. The ultimate goal is for any social website to be able
to implement the APIs and host 3rd party social applications. There are many
websites implementing OpenSocial, including, Friendster, hi5, Hyves,
imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo,, Six Apart,
Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.

In order for developers to get started immediately, Orkut has opened a limited
sandbox that you can use to start building apps using the OpenSocial APIs.

OpenSocial is built upon Google Gadget technology, so you can build a great,
viral social app with little to no serving costs. With the Google Gadget Editor
and a simple key/value API, you can build a complete social app
with no server at all. Of course, you can also host your application on your
own servers if you prefer. In all cases, Google's gadget caching technology can
ease your bandwidth demands should your app suddenly become a worldwide success.

There are applications already being made!
OpenSocial API Blog wrote:
There's no denying that the web enables communication.
The killer apps of the web -- email, instant messaging, blogging -- have enabled
us to communicate with our friends, family, and the rest of the world on a large
scale. But there is a newer characteristic of the web that has been emerging:
to become social. The first wave of killer apps allowed us to communicate with
the world at scale. The next wave is about connecting us and our online activities
with our friends.

Social networks have seen that next wave, and have started opening up developer
APIs to enable third-party innovation on their websites. This is a great thing,
but it has also led to a growing number of APIs which a developer must learn.
So we took a look at the state of the web and asked how we could make development
easier for both websites and developers. Out of that exercise came OpenSocial.

OpenSocial is a set of common APIs that will work on many different social websites,
including MySpace, Plaxo, Hi5, Ning, orkut, and LinkedIn, among others. In addition,
this allows developers to learn one API, then write a social application for
any of those sites. Learn once, write anywhere, if you will. And because it's
built on web standards like HTML and JavaScript, developers don't have to learn
a custom programming language.

Perhaps most interestingly, we will see social capabilities move into new contexts.
OpenSocial will also work in non-traditional social contexts, such as on
and Oracle. With a common set of APIs, it will be even easier to extend social
functionality. Beyond the many fun and entertaining social applications we already
have seen, we think we'll see a number of social applications emerge in business

Lastly, the web is global, and so is the scope of OpenSocial. When you add up
the current websites who have committed to implementing OpenSocial, you realize
that a developer building for OpenSocial has the chance to reach over 200M+ users
in dozens of countries. So over the course of the next few months, we're going
to continue laying the foundations of OpenSocial to enable this common dream
for a more social web.

So get started today. First, sign up for the Orkut sandbox so you can begin building
and testing. Next, take a look at the OpenSocial API docs. Finally, start thinking
about the possibilities given all of the websites that are implementing OpenSocial.

OpenSocial Launch partners
Bleacher Report

Bunchball, Inc
Cardinal Blue Software
Chronus Corporation
Holdings, Inc.

Fendoo Ltd
Hungry Machine
iFamily, Inc
KlickSports, Inc.
LabPixies Ltd.
Mesa Dynamics, LLC
MuseStorm Inc
NY Times
Oberon Media
SideStep, Inc.
Six Apart
Zytu Inc.

iVirtua Community will be joining OpenSocial

Google Feedback
Do you want to respond to a post or give us feedback? The discussion

OpenSocial Overview

OpenSocial API

Other Resources

More Google Dev Blog Posts

Finally, with MySpace behind them all, it will mean a lot for social networking.
No longer will be be tied to one coial network, and as from the list above, we
can choose not just the social network of out personal preference, but for the
reason we want. Facebook might be trying to be a jack of all trades, but now
we are free to use MySpace/Bebo for culture/music, LinkedIn for business, and
our others on the lists for specialities. An all in one job isnt always best,
just like for the best products, you go to a specialist shop; not pound land

BBC Business wrote:

The participation of MySpace, which is the biggest network with more than 200
million users, will encourage many more developers to get involved.

It will also be seen as a major challenge to Facebook, the fast-growing network
which opened up its site to outside software developers in May.

In a press conference in California, Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt and
Chris De Wolfe, president of MySpace, said the two companies had been working
on the deal for more than a year.

Looks like BBC got the wrong end of the stick here

That will depend on whether developers decide it is better to work with a system
which will cut the cost of producing new applications for all sorts of sites.
But the real test will be whether social network users care about just how open
source their site is.

New York Times wrote:

The alliance now presents a powerful counterweight to Facebook,
which, after opening up its site to developers last spring, has persuaded thousands
of them to create programs for its users. The addition of MySpace, the world's
largest social network with 110 million active members, and Bebo, the No. 1 site
in Britain with 39 million active users, could also put pressure on Facebook
to drop its own standard and join the alliance, called OpenSocial.

OpenSocial is going to be become the de facto standard for developers right out
of the gate, said Chris DeWolfe, chief executive of MySpace, in a
press conference at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. It will have
access to 200 million users, making it way bigger than any other platform out

joins alliance to counter Facebook

Flixster/MySpace screen shots:

And for more on OpenSocial APIs...

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:30 am Reply and quote this post
I was reading these "concerns" of OpenSocial...
"Is Google Exercising Leadership or Control, Are These Write-Only APIs, If This Is Good, Will Official Sanction Kill It"

It seems to me that all three of these "concerns" are the type of thingthat only bloggers would care about. They're worried that Google isgoing to control programs created by Google? Oh noes, teh horror! Can'tbe having a company control their own software! Might lead toCapitalism! As for "lack of cross-site identity", that's really onlysomething that never-been-kissed morons care about. If Digg has shownus ANYTHING, it's that so-called "social" sites are inevitably ruinedby a handful of people who have absolutely no lives, and thus spend alltheir time trying to monopolize whatever board they're currentlyobsessed with. (Pizzler and MrBabyMan, anyone?) As for his utterlyinsane comments about "Large Corporations" and their innate inabilityto "be hip": Yeah, because Apple certainly has never been able tocreate hip new trends, right? And Google itself certainly isn't hip andtrendy with the Geek crowd. And You Tube certainly isn't amulti-billion dollar corporation.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
372659 iVirtua Loyalty Points • View ProfileSend Private MessageBack to Top

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