Open Social – the Social Network For Companies Scared Of Facebook

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by: Karl Long

And myspace might be saying “Thanks for the add” to google as well.

I had initially thought this story from Tech Crunch was like a formation of a “coalition of the willing” with the other social networks, but I’m begining to think it might have much bigger implications.

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.

Could this form the foundation for the Internet to finally become the platform? Sure you’ve got a few social networks involved but what if enterprises started using this as the basis for their own social networks? Imagine companies that started to run their businesses on social applications. Sure email is the lingua franca still, but wikis, blogs, and the concept of social networking are changing the way businesses are working.

The only thing that I see missing that would really enable this to happen is some kind of real identity system, because still the advantage that Facebook has at this time is pretty good identity and relationship management. Again the old adage applies, “on the internet nobody knows your a dog”

It seems that quite a few people think it’s likely that Facebook will likely join OpenSocial as well, it makes sense, but it’s clear that Google had to get everyone else on board first.

Ars Technica has some more on the story as does Read/Write Web who I totally recommend following for more insight on this.

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