Google OpenSocial

John Musser, October 31st, 2007

The notion of social networks as open platforms are going take a big step forward this week when Google officially announces OpenSocial, a set of common APIs to let developers create applications that run across any OpenSocial compatible site. The APIs will cover many of the essential social networking functions: Profile Information (user data), Friends Information (social graph), and Activities (things that happen).

As first reported on TechCrunch, on Thursday this week Google will unveil details on the initiative along with their launch partners. On the social network side they will be joined by sites supporting the API including Salesforce, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Newsgator and Ning (with Google’s own Orkut included as well). On the application developer side they will be joined by some of the leading Facebook developers including Flikster, Rock You, Slide, and iLike.

It is interesting that this is not a social network but a compatibility layer across networks. This has the potential to make developers lives easier while at the same time giving Google and Facebook’s competitors a means to dent Facebook’s current momentum.

Check-out the ongoing thread via TechMeme (see also good analysis from Marc Andreessen).

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7 Responses to “Google OpenSocial”

October 31st, 2007
at 1:07 pm
Comment by:

The Funnel begins – Google taking on Facebook, bigger than you think…

The big news today is that Google will soon be announcing OpenSocial [ongoing].
OpenSocial is a BigDeal(tm) for a lot of reasons. If you have been in a face-to-face conversation about Facebook with me recently, you’ll have heard my own ideas abo…

November 1st, 2007
at 2:45 am
Comment by: Dawson

Hello Guys/Girls, if there are any developers on here who are excited about getting their hands on the OpenSocial APIs (I know I am!), I have made a website/forum for discussion, would be cool to get a few active members to get the website going

November 2nd, 2007
at 12:12 am
Comment by: Phillip Rhodes

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

November 2nd, 2007
at 1:08 am
Comment by: John Musser

Phillip, very good questions. I’m sure there will be lots of discussion over the coming days and weeks that will dig-into these. Stay tuned.

November 6th, 2007
at 7:50 pm
Comment by: Kickstart social networking with Ya-huh? | SEO'Brien - Search & online marketing blog

[...] So, now Yahoo is going to kickstart (jump start?) their social graph. Well… Welcome to the party. Meet Google. [...]

March 12th, 2008
at 12:43 am
Comment by: Latest OpenSocial News from GSP West

[...] there may not be as much buzz about OpenSocial right now as there was at launch, lots of progress is being made by folks inside and outside of Google. This collaborative effort [...]

February 16th, 2009
at 7:01 am
Comment by:   What is Google’s OpenSocial? — :: Blog

[...] [...]

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John Musser
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Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.