Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Max Levchin Speaks Softly (But Carries a Big Widget) About OpenSocial!

Marc Canter isn’t the only one talking out loud about Google’s OpenSocial initiative.

Max Levchin, founder, chairman and CEO of Slide–the No. 1 widget maker on Facebook–sent out an email (posted in full after the jump) on Friday about the development. His point? For makers of third-party applications for social networks, their bread is buttered on all sides and along the edges.

Max, to continue the carb metaphor, is one smart cookie. (See my series of three interviews with him, also after the jump, to get an idea of his plans for world widget domination.)

Here’s the letter:


For what it’s worth, I wanted to pass along some of my thoughts about OpenSocial and its implications, at the end of what surely has been a big week for Slide and the industry.

OpenSocial is a an exciting development for the Web, with powerful implications both immediate and long-term. The creation of a simple common standard supported by industry heavyweights like Google, MySpace, hi5, Bebo and dozens of others is a very good thing. Whether you call them widgets, gadgets or social applications, the products Slide and its peers create will now get exposed to even more people, and the time to bring them to new markets will decrease.

But the technical advantages of OpenSocial are probably the least important thing of all here. The formation and launch of OpenSocial marks a critical waypoint in what has been the ever-accelerating race from the desktop to the browser. Online communities have emerged as the new kind of operating systems, and the users are demanding more and more sophisticated software and services.

The vibrant widget ecosystem of MySpace and many others and the early success of the Facebook Platform underscored the demand for social applications. The launch of OpenSocial points at the enormous financial opportunity for application developers, with social platforms poised to compete for developer attention through revenue opportunities for application builders. There are now real opportunities to build the next Adobe, Intuit, EA of social computing.

Slide was built to scale and capitalize on this very opportunity. While the social-networking users and the networks themselves stand to gain tremendously from all the benefits of standards-based application development, the real winners today are the social-application developers.


Max Levchin
Chairman & CEO
Slide, Inc

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Part 2:

Part 3:

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