Application developers are the clear winners of Google’s pending release of Open Social.
Richard MacManus explains:
Open Social is a distributed social network framework…a ‘third place’ of social networks…a set of three common APIs that allow developer to access the following core functions and information at social networks:
- Profile Information (user data)
- Friends Information (social graph)
- Activities (News Feed).
The following companies/social networks have apparently signed up to be a part of Open Social – Friendster, Hi5, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, Orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce and Viadeo.
So far a bunch of Facebook app developers, including Flixster, iLike, RockYou and Slide, have also signed up.
Richard rightly points out that this is an example of Google playing to its strengths – namely creating a distributed system and owning a chunk of a space through its own platform. It will be interesting to see how Facebook and MySpace react.
While some commentators are expressing doubt that they will come to the party, it is possible that this move by Google will lead to some de facto standardization across open APIs. Standards would assist app developers greatly by reducing the friction inherent in mastering the intricacies of every set of open APIs and should lead to a much wider distribution of apps across various social networks.
Om Malik feels that Open Social is attacking Facebooks achilles heel – its quintessential closed nature. A standardised Social Networking Markup Language far outweighs a closed Facebook-only ML.