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OpenSocial launched

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Saturday November 3, 2007 )

It’s an exciting time for developers who create applications for social networks. Google has just launched OpenSocial; a common set of APIs (Application Programming Interface) that will be adopted by some of the biggest social sites around.

One of the challenges facing developers when programming applications and widgets for different services is there’s a different way each application needs to be built to suit the particular service. OpenSocial provides a single framework which will help save developers time and headspace in their creatives efforts and provide a much broader audience for their applications.

Among the sites implementing OpenSocial so far:
MySpace < --- ka ching! Ning Oracle orkut <-- Google's own social network Plaxo Six Apart Tianji Viadeo XING ... and around 60 other services.

All told, these networks represent well over 200 million unique users.

Note the absence of FaceBook on the list :). Rumor has it that Google snubbed FaceBook or vice-versa, but according to FaceBook VC Jim Breyer, the company is open to participating in the OpenSocial platform.

OpenSocial uses Google Gadget technology, so the tools developers will need are free and applications can also be stored on Google’s servers at no cost. Unlike Facebook’s FBML, OpenSocial doesn’t have its own markup language – it just uses normal javascript and html.

If you have a spare 55 minutes, here’s a video from Campfire One, OpenSocial’s launch event – it’s a little on the cheesey side, but explains the concept and setup nicely.


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