OpenSocial will provide APIs to developers seeking to build social applications
MySpace and Google Inc. announced Thursday that they have joined forces to launch a new social platform complete with a set of APIs for developers to build social applications.
The launch of OpenSocial by Google was expected, but the partnership with MySpace put added weight behind Google’s plans.
“Our partnership with Google allows developers to gain massive distribution without unnecessary specialized development for every platform,” said Chris DeWolfe, CEO and co-founder of MySpace, in a statement. “This is about helping the start-up spend more time building a great product rather than rebuilding it for every social network. We’re pleased to collaborate with Google to establish a landmark standard for social applications.”
The OpenSocial standards are designed to evolve through contributions from the open-source community and from partners like Friendster, LinkedIn, Ning, Six Apart, Plaxo and Salesforce.com.
Although Microsoft Corp. beat Google in the bidding for a minority stake in MySpace rival Facebook, Google “may have just come out of nowhere and checkmated Facebook in the social networking power struggle,” blogged Michael Arrington, who operates the technology blog TechCrunch. Microsoft announced last week that it was investing $240 million in Facebook as part of a strategic alliance.
“Suddenly, within just the last couple of days, the entire social networking world has announced that they are ganging up to take on Facebook, and Google is their quarterback in the big game,” Arrington noted.
Beginning Thursday night, developers can start writing applications for OpenSocial at a newly created Web site.
Opening up Facebook Platform Architecture
At Facebook, we’ve always recognized that social context is an essential part of providing a great experience for our users, and we’ve wanted our users to have the best social experience whether they were on our site or off. That’s why, back in August 2006, we released the Facebook Platform API – with that release, developers could incorporate the data users chose to share into their own sites or applications to give users a more social experience no matter where they were. With the launch of the most recent version of Facebook Platform in May 2007, we also opened up the Facebook website itself.
We’ve seen a great response from both our developers and our users, and we’ve certainly learned a lot as we’ve worked on our platform over the past year and a half.
Now we also want to share the benefits of our work by enabling other social sites to use our platform architecture as a model. In fact, we’ll even license the Facebook Platform methods and tags to other platforms. Of course, Facebook Platform will continue to evolve, but by enabling other social sites to use what we’ve learned, everyone wins — users get a better experience around the web, developers get access to new audiences, and social sites get more applications.
This is just another step toward the vision of easy, open sharing of information. We look forward to supporting other social sites as they release their own platforms, and look forward most of all to the added benefit for developers and users.
You can find more information and additional technical details at http://developers.facebook.com/specification.php.