Although articles leading up to the reveal of Google’s Open Social predicted a big splash, it seems the new initiative has made no more than a small ripple. Initially, I wasn’t even sure what the benefit to us, the consumers, would be, from this new program. Now, that I have a better idea of what the concept is, I can predict that Open Social WILL eventually make a big splash. However, the splash will move in slow motion, and the stone that made the splash will be the use of applications (or widgets) in social networking in general, and not credited towards Open Social.
For those who are still unfamiliar with the concept of interest, Open Social has a very recent Wikipedia entry that you can continue to visit in order to keep up with the story as changes are made and issues arise. Open Social, defined, is a set of common APIs (Application Program Interfaces), or codes, designed specifically to work with most social networks. Basically, OpenSocial is a tool for programmers, making it easier for them to build an application in ONE code and use the same code for the application in the 26 companies that have signed up to be a part of this Google initiative. The current industry leader, MySpace, is within these 26 social networks, but its close competitor, Facebook, is not.
I’m wondering if Facebook will eventually join the bandwagon. As pointed out by Shel Holtz in his article today, “The Sound & Fury of Open Social,” Facebook has done a great job of staying out of the Google-sphere, keeping its profiles and networks off of the Google Search Engines, as well as denying participation in personalized Google Ads. Holtz also pointed out that it is rumored that Facebook was not invited by Google to join this initiative.
Is Google trying to phase out Facebook? And if they are, is this really the right way to go about it? Users of Facebook typically are not using the social network because of its applications. Even if they were, users don’t care if they’re written in an open or proprietary, or Open Social compatible, format.
So again I ask, what effect will OpenSocial have on us, the consumers? It will allow smaller social networks that currently do not have the capability to support applications the sophistication to do so. However, in Mr. Holtz’s words:
“Open Social applications on crappy social networks won’t make them any less crappy or more attractive.” –The Sound & Fury of Open Social, Paragraph 8
To follow the Google OpenSocial Story, be sure to visit the following links:
- Google’s Official OpenSocial Page : Includes a description of the application, as well as an informative video to better help users understand the concept. The instructions for this code are also explained so programmers can begin to write their applications.
- Wikipedia’s OpenSocial Entry: Follow this dynamic encyclopedia entry to keep track of changes in the perception of the technology.
- The OpenSocial Alliance: Keep Informed as to Which Applications join the OpenSocial Team
- Official Google OpenSocial Blog: Read updates, feedback, and news from those who are developing the initiative.
- Subscribe to this Blog’s RSS Feed to be notified of updates.
- Featured OpenSocial Projects: Stay up to date with Google applications that had been created with OpenSocial by subscribing to this RSS feed.