Google’s OpenSocial is live, and so is the hope of all those startups who want to build apps for social networks (without struggling to create one!).
OpenSocial is a “Learn once, write anywhere” set of common APIs that will work on many different social websites, including MySpace, Hi5, Ning, orkut, and LinkedIn, among others. In addition, this allows developers to learn one API, then write a social application for any of those sites.
The opportunities for such meta-network-apps are immense – as a partner/app provider, you need to invest your energy in learning Google APIs and building your app. Like Java, your app will be portable across multiple social networks (so you get access to all FB/MySpace/Linkedin etc users).
All the major social networks (Orkut/Linkedin, hi5/MySpace/Ning etc) have already enabled their platform for Google’s OpenSocial platfom (it would be foolish to not do so).
This will surely change the game plan of social networks and will see the pendulum swinging Google’s way.
Will OpenSocial witness a reverse pattern of social networks running after developers for licensing their apps? Will OpenSocial commoditze the app space?
Only time will tell.
Unlike Yahoo’s Mash, Google was smart in realizing that Orkut can’t break into US social networks and the next best alternative was NOT to build another network, but be a meta-network, and enable those who want to build apps for these networks.
At the end of the day, even if FaceBook goes down the drain, MySpace becomes #1, LinkedIn bombs, i.e. whatever happens, Google will ensure that they provide the fodder to networkers.
Interestingly, why is FaceBook not a part of the partner list? Any guesses?
There is a difference in telling time vs. building a clock. Google prefers latter.
What’s your take on OpenSocial?
Also see: our earlier rant on M$/FB deal.