Is This That 'Social Graph' Zuckerberg's Always Droning On About?
So much for Facebook’s vaunted “open platform.” Tomorrow, an alliance of companies led by Google will introduce a common set of standards that will do for any Web site that embraces them what the Facebook Platform did for, well, Facebook.
OpenSocial, as Google has named it, is a set of common APIs (application programming interfaces) that will enable developers to write applications for a broad range of Web sites and services without any individual customization. Think of it as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “social graph” but writ large.
And while some might smirk at OpenSocial’s initial roster of participants–LinkedIn, hi5, Ning, Friendster, Plaxo and Google’s own “big in Brazil” social network Orkut–it does include a few big names: business software makers Salesforce.com and Oracle. Oh, and Google. Which, as TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld points out, already has much of the critical mass it needs to push this effort forward: “Google already has so much data on you, depending on how many Google apps you already use. It just needs to bring everything together. … Over time, Google will connect all of these together in different ways, along with data about you from other social services across the Web, and give developers access to the social layer tying all of these apps together underneath. The real killer app for Google is not to turn Orkut into a Facebook clone. It is to turn every Google app into a social application without you even noticing that you’ve joined yet another social network.”