The OpenSocial site went live on Thursday and I'm sure will cause quite a stir once the whole blogging community starts discussing this. I've already subscribed to the OpenSocial blog that has some good coverage of who was at the launch event last week. The video of the launch is a good introduction to it all.
TechCrunch talks about it in some detail after attending the event. They sum up the integration by saying it covers:
- Profile Information (user data)
- Friends Information (social graph)
- Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)
Marc Andreessen's company Ning has supported the cause and puts together some good reasoning behind it as well as how Facebook can deal with it.
This will be a huge change for the Social Networking space on the Internet in the coming months as developers who were storming to build on top of Facebook now will probably be putting some money on OpenSocial growing rapidly. All it takes, as Marc mentioned, was for one big horse to start running with it e.g. MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, Hi5, SalesForce.com, Plaxo, Oracle etc.
The ball is rolling
Being on the front of this train and running with it will get you a lot of publicity and potentially a huge user base. There is a feed that shows what sites are taking this up for instance PayPal, FunWall, MY NewYorkTimes, Go4It, Shelfari, Where I've Visited as just some that are already taking this up.
Google have been very clever with this, although it is open source, there social networking platform Orkut (wikipedia info) which to date has not been very successful in comparison to Facebook, MySpace, Bebo etc. This will open up that user base as word gets around of the support of OpenSocial and the advantages of having a platform that supports multiple networks without being locked in like Facebook. It will be interesting to see how Facebook responds. For any new networking platform, they need to work out how they will retain users on their platform.
Developers, developers, developers
The main push is how easy it is for developers to integrate this with other social networks such as MySpace, Ning and Hi5 for example. Interestingly a few of the announced partners didn't present at the Base Camp presentation such as Plaxo, but the following did:
The video demos how Flickster grabs profile information from a Ning community site and uses it within their own application.
It was also very possitive for iLike who used the same codebase for Facebook that they now use in Ning, MySpace and Hi5. They demonstrated the AJAX style interface in various different network platforms and the integration with the activities integration.
LinkedIn demoed a strong rich interface calendar that recommended events relevant to the profession of the user logged in and also coloured it differently depending on whether their connections were attending the event or not. It extended the paradigm around 3rd degree (know through friends) connections, where you can see which are attending the event and contacting them to meet at this event.
SalesForce demonstrated the connections and relationships with clients in their CRM. It uses a tag cloud type method of showing how your relationship is with that client. They have introduced a new 'make friend' button that also integrates with it.
MySpace + Flixster
They demoed integration with Flixster pulling interests from MySpace's profiles to show Movie posters on their profile. Clicking on the posters then put them in a framed Flixster app within MySpace about that movie and the comments that were made within Flixster but that user.
Already it has kicked up a lot of talk. Jeremiah Owyang makes some good points. Key things include:
- Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook are not part of this (yet)
- It's basically the same as what Facebook offered four months ago, but includes other platforms not just app developers.
- More efficient development
- Easy way of harnessing existing communities
- Extend your existing apps with social features
Jeremiah also establishes some key challenges to this approach. Will the Google name be strong enough to encourage people to move onto this platform?
Charlene Li - Gartner
Charlene Li also wrote about this recently and highlighted that the real winners were the developers. But also in the long run potentially the smaller social networks could be too. She did highlight that although it could potential make the water rough for Facebook, that for now Facebook in the consumers eyes will see Facebook as the place to be.
Dogster makes some great points too. Again, security issues and Google advantages on chairing this were brought up and policies to be put in place around this.
Six Apart also took time to stand up on this one too. An interesting angle was not from platforms, not from developers, but the advantages it will give end users.
Gabe Wachob makes some great points around the fact that it encourages Silos and unlike, as I've discussed before, the OpenID approach that centralises one identity. OpenSocial will still encourage lock-in with the social network platforms.
From the users point of view apps like iLike could be confusing because you could potential have this viewed on multiple sites and this will make it hard for users to manage all their apps.
Master of 500 hats
Dave McClure makes some big key points around not getting too excited by highlighting that the usage of Facebook compared to all the partners lined up is minimal. He also asks whether Google themselves will jump on the train and start integrating this stuff into GMail, GTalk etc. He does point out that the big integrators RockYou, Flixster, Slide etc. are all on board which is a big plus for OpenSocial.
TechCrunch posted up something similar to Dave McClure with the OpenSocial Partners and their unique monthly visitors. One key point was that if this become the advertising platform of choice, it could really hurt Facebook and Microsofts' new agreement. Michael has also put up some screenshots! The Flixster screenshots are a great example of only showing your friends who've reviewed the movies in context of MySpace User profile. It would be great if it would grab friends from MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5 and show all your connected friends that way....
Jack has a very critical view of it claiming that it really doesn't encourage Openness and that all this can be done from within Facebooks API so why does Google releasing this make it any different. It does highlight that when Google beat their drums people listen and trust it unlike when Microsoft do.
Marshall also goes to town on asking the curly questions around the announcements. These are all valid concerns and things I'm suprised others haven't blogged about around these announcements.
Josh also points out that Facebook need not worry...users join a social network because their friends are already there. All the apps in the platform just enhance their experience once they're there. He states that Google is the real winner here...and that it wouldn't really hurt Facebook to get on board. Facebook could get unstuck if a killer app is developed on OpenSocial but not for Facebook (unlikely).
And some more over at my diigo tags.