Google’s (GOOG) much awaited answer to Facebook ecosystem is finally coming to light. The existence of this Google platform was first reported by TechCrunch and is going to become official tomorrow. Google will announce its new social networking initiative, Open Social on Thursday. Joining Google and […]

opensocial2.gifGoogle’s (GOOG) much awaited answer to Facebook ecosystem is finally coming to light. The existence of this Google platform was first reported by TechCrunch and is going to become official tomorrow.

Google will announce its new social networking initiative, Open Social on Thursday. Joining Google and its Orkut social network are other partners such as XING, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Newsgator and Ning.

OpenSocial is a set of common APIs for building social applications on the web. These common APIs mean that developers only have to learn once in order to start building social applications for multiple websites, and any website will be able to implement OpenSocial and host social applications.

OpenSocial attacks Facebook where it is the weakest (and the strongest): its quintessential closed nature. Several Facebook developers have groused that a special Facebook-only mark-up language makes the task of writing Facebook apps tougher. (Recommended reading: Anil Dash on the historical limitations of proprietary development platforms.)

Google has managed to attract some of the key Facebook app companies Flixster, Rock You, Slide, and iLike to work with them on OpenSocial. The lure of expanding their widget base to other Social platforms such as hi5 and XING, perhaps was too hard for them to resist.

Even if you take Facebook out of the equation, the task of writing and adapting widgets for the every increasing number of social platforms was going to turn into a colossal mess. OpenSocial looks to address some of those issues. This is a mild negative for start-ups who are offering middleware services around widgets.

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  1. Om,
    I was hoping you’d elaborate much more commenting on the strategy of Google. In my very limited understanding, I don’t see this as a potential threat to Facebook from the advertising perspective. Would Google have access to the user profile of all the “hosts”? So, what if its providing this API to tie in widget development? Apart from taking away the exclusivity of some of FB apps (perhaps) how is Google benefiting here? (Apart from the orkut data it has ofcoz).

    I thought you could comment on these issues rather than having an “informative” post which is more like a news headline repeat.


  2. Gaurav Kanoongo Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    This is exactly what was expected.

  3. Isn’t this becoming more and more confusing. There is a old saying ” When Elephants make love or war the grass gets trampled”

    FOr small businesses who are looking to use social media to futher thier business whare do they start ?

  4. I’m guessing there are going to be lots of caveats to this announcement. LinkedIn has repeatedly said that anyone will NOT be able to launch a LinkedIn app. Maybe they are going back on that, but maybe they will only let SalesForce launch an app…and who cares if they do it on OpenSocial.


  5. Does this mean I’ll be able to add my friends to any one of the networks and it will get added to all of them? What does this mean for users of these host networks, apart from the proliferation of apps?

  6. This is changes the landscape dramatically. We’ll see an acceleration in innovation now, like we did in ’95 and ’96. I think this is the immune system of the Internet rising to the Balkanization threat posed by Facebook and other walled gardens. More of my take on this here: http://therealmccrea.wordpress.com/2007/10/31/did-you-feel-the-earth-move-google-shakes-things-up/

  7. Om,
    what role is google playing here. Are they trying to be the middle man for all the developer community and small startups that write widgets. If that is the case- who is making the money?. Or- are they playing the role of a widgetbox with API’s to access other social network community.
    Even I have written something about this news in my blog. Neverthless, I would love to hear your insights on this.

  8. metarand » Google set to outopen in face/space race Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    [...] Malik feels that Open Social is attacking Facebooks achilles heel – its quintessential closed nature. A [...]

  9. The timing of this announcement was likely driven more by the markets than by technical/internet issues. Google had to respond to Microsoft’s moves so they needed to get this announcement done. More info and a clearer picture in the near future.

  10. “OpenSocial attacks Facebook where it is the weakest (and the strongest): its quintessential closed nature ”
    Isnt that what gives a social network users the ‘warm & fuzzy’ feeling that they are ‘connected’ to only the people they trust , anyways ?

  11. this is all very good . but how will it stop mass exodus of users from Xing ,Hi5,Friendster to Facebook. Its not clear how Google is adding value to the equation here . do they seriously think that API Brokerage is a long term competitive advantage .
    or they are trying to put forward and standardized a Soc. Nw. Markup language ? later makes more sense as this Markup language will be tightly coupled with AdSense .

    But this is a risky strategy because if they fail in doing that it will be a validation for facebook .Given the growing product line of Google its very very unlikely that this product will get enough
    management bandwidth . this might be fatal for the initiative .

    Hi5,friendster ,Xing have made alliance with Google to boost their usage ,if this fail, say in 02 years max is it very hard to imagine these Tier 2 Soc. Nw opening up their gates for supporting Facebook API based application too .

    After all you loose your virginity only once and than you can’t go back to it.

  12. This is about more than widgets. Essentially this is OpenID + Social Graph in one API, open to any app developer.

    Flixster, iLike, RockYou etc. will love this because they can now create apps that are “socially aware” and are not limited to being inside the Facebook walled garden. Imagine going to iLike for the first time, already having login creds and an existing network of friends that you can interact with without having to re-establish them. That is where this thing is going to really take off.

    Oh and let’s not forget that Google is/probably has been consuming these APIs themselves. One obvious scenario: No longer having to keep your GMail address book up to date manually. Your social graph is your rolodex.

  13. Sachin Balagopalan Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    And Google Strikes Back….


  14. Let’s not forget the GPhone. Imagine this thing hitting the Open Social API + Mashed Up w/Dodgeball. Real-time status of your entire social network. Booyah.

  15. I believe you misspelled Ning (ning.com) :)

  16. The Facebook FBML markup language makes dev much easier, not harder.

  17. You may have a look at http://www.techcrunch.com

    The real and official hosts/partners (participating social networks) include Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle.

  18. Google strikes back- Microsoft better listen! or?

    From my understanding I think that Google is making itself as a platform to launch social networks which is similar to any operating system. Would this strategy work? TOugh to tell now. Since google is having its own social networking site, we don’t know how its competitors would like to collaborate with google. Wait and watch is my advice!

  19. Damien Mulley » Blog Archive » So it’s called Open Social? The facebook “killer” from Google? Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    [...] my site using a feedreader or email. Thanks for visiting – Damien.Via Om Malik, more details on the Google Social Network thingy. The most interesting thing for me is this: Google will announce its new social networking [...]

  20. OpenSocial, Google’s Open Answer to Facebook (GigaOM)

  21. PolkaRobot » Die Google Gang Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    [...] meine ersten Gedanken zu dem Thema. Als Quellen dienten mir Techcrunch, Mashable, GigaOm, ReadWriteWeb, New York Times [...]

  22. Sounds like application developers can now easily milk the long tail of web 2.0 social networks

  23. This will be quite awesome if it runs as good as the rest of the google api/web services like google maps, I have quite a few unused domains laying around that i will have to dust off any give a run at this.

  24. Well Google is definitely making sure Microsoft’s investment and momentum is of no use now. Its killing two birds with one stone, may be three (myspace, facebook, microsoft). Google is definitely hurting Microsoft big time and making them nervous and make mistakes. Not to mention apple is not making Microsoft life easier as well.
    Anyway this is more of a sensible move rather than invent a new phenomenon, let us concentrate on synerging whats already their.

    Some lesson for Linux vendors, to follow googles lead.

  25. This was only one PART of what I wanted to see from google. I was also hoping that google would construct a graph with an API from their several properties ( YouTube , Gmail , Orkut , IGoogle).

  26. On further analyzing this, it is a SOA strategy, Google has just taken the leaf out of that and is putting the pieces together to build an open and interoperable platform. This will hurt myspace, facebookMicrosoft) and yahoo in coming months as Google has the potential to make others less significant players . For me one noticeable player missing is digg.com, rest are all good.

  27. I don’t use Orkut, hi5 (which spams your address book and sends invites to EVERYONE without your consent), Flixter (similarly dubious), or ANY these other sites OpenSocial is collaborating with. Why can’t Google integrate Last.FM, YouTube, LJ–in a nutshell, sites PEOPLE ACTUALLY VISIT REGULARLY.

  28. OpenSocial, the GPhone, everything Web 2.0. Just brill.

  29. Does anyone know how google chose the networks for the new open social?

  30. therealsouthkorea Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    More social networking? Is this going to decrease the “somebody has hugged you” or “somebody has waved at you” messages or increase them?

  31. More discussions in the Social Network Portability group



    • Kiran
  32. Hone Watson Bookmarks Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    OpenSocial API

    Google is set to launch OpenSocial which will be a centralized platform where you can create an app which will then be usable on the major social networking sites like Ning, Hi5, LinkedIn, Orkut etc.
    It’s a form of web app syndication or WAS. Go…

  33. Hello Guys/Girls, if there are any developers on here who are excited about getting their hands on the OpenSocial APIs (I know I am!), I have made a website/forum for discussion, would be cool to get a few active members to get the website going http://www.osocial.co.uk/forum/

  34. MartinKloos.nl » Blog Archive » Google’s antwoord op portable social networks: openSocial? Thursday, November 1, 2007

    [...] afgelopen dagen mijn rss feeds. Met onder meer coverages van Techcrunch, Mashable, Read/Write Web, GigaOM of dichter bij huis, Ton’s interdependent thoughts. Officieel lijkt het erop dat Google [...]

  35. Very interesting concept they have here – I can’t wait to see how Google handles this :)

  36. Creating a site to keep track of all the OpenSocial Apps that will be coming out soon


  37. Four Starters » OpenSocial here we come Thursday, November 1, 2007

    [...] has been completely swept away by the news of Google’s OpenSocial network launching really soon now. This is the stuff we have been eagerly waiting for, for a long long [...]

  38. But I wonder why they chose hi5, friendster etc? What was the basis for their decision?

  39. Open Web APIs, Google’s Open Social and you « The Whole Enchilada Thursday, November 1, 2007

    [...] OpenSocial, Google’s Open Answer to Facebook « GigaOM [...]

  40. Google OpenSocial auf maol symbolisch Thursday, November 1, 2007

    [...] für die Pressekonferenz (in der Reihenfolge des Erscheinens in meinem Feedreader): GigaOm, TechCrunch, TechCrunch mit Screenshots, TechCrunch Vor-Vorankündigung und [...]

  41. A few questions I haven’t seen anybody raise yet:

    1. Are these APIs / Protocols going to be standardized by any international standards body (ECMA, OSI, IETF, etc) or will the always be under Google’s control?

    2. What will the terms of use be? Eg, if I want my social network host to support OpenSocial, what are the license terms to implement OS?

    3. Will Google provide any implementation of the protocols for (server side | client side | both | neither)? If so, how will they be licensed?

    Personally I think this sounds like a good thing in general, but until they actually release whatever it is they’re releasing, I worry that a lot of us are putting the cart before the horse.

    Finally, if anybody is interested in building a truly decentralized, federated social networking platform (Open Source, of course) see https://openqabal.dev.java.net.

  42. Google opens up social networking Thursday, November 1, 2007

    [...] giant last week may have played a small part in Google’s move to open social networking APIs. OpenSocial brings together such diverse services as Orkut, LinkedIn, Hi5 and Salesforce.com. But while opening [...]

  43. Open Social API at Wiggler Friday, November 2, 2007

    [...] ώρες λογικά, η Google θα ανακοινώσει και επίσημα πλέον το Open Social, το ανοικτό API που φιλοδοξεί να ενώσει όσα networking sites το [...]

  44. Google rassegna news 02/11/2007 | Googlisti.com Friday, November 2, 2007

    [...] XING, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Newsgator and Ning. Con Open Social, Google apre un set di tre API per consentire agli sviluppatori di lavorare su tre funzioni fondamentali: profilo utente (user [...]

  45. Confluence: Kunde Roland Berger Friday, November 2, 2007

    open social

    anbei eine kleine linksammlung zum thema google open social. vorberichterstattung

  46. View from W6th Friday, November 2, 2007

    Is OpenSocial the beginning of a truly social inte

    So I read Om Malik’s post Tuesday about OpenSocial – Google’s platform for social networks.  Exciting stuff!

    Having the day off on Wednesday …

  47. Didja Hear About our New Application for OpenSocial? · nepeancarleton Friday, November 2, 2007

    [...] Mashable: NewsGator Joins OpenSocialBetween the Lines: OpenSocial Developers Speak OutGigaOm: OpenSocial, Google’s Answer to Facebook [...]

  48. Get started with OpenSocial development right away. Check out the OpenSocial Garage Forum and Wiki at http://www.opensocialgarage.com/

  49. Stop met het bouwen van sociale netwerken! – Frankwatching Friday, November 2, 2007

    [...] is eerst uitgelekt, daarna officieel bekend gemaakt en en het is een nog veel interessanter dan toegang tot [...]

  50. Weekend Fun: The OpenSocial Drinking Game « GigaOM Friday, November 2, 2007

    [...] by Chris Albrecht Friday, November 2, 2007 at 4:07 PM PT | No comments All this talk of Google’s OpenSocial networking initiative reminds me of college, where yelling “Social!” at a party meant [...]

  51. Has anyone checked out the links
    from the “Who’s Using It” Site on
    Google’s OpenSocial ?

    Some of the sites are made by companies
    and some are personal.
    but this site has a virus!!


    When I accessed the site ,my Security Software
    caught a virus! (script?)

    anyone else??

  52. Google’s OpenSocial Platform Releases | Tech.MoroBlog [ technology news, tips, howto's and reviews ] Saturday, November 3, 2007

    [...] graph) and 3) Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)” Says Om Malik: “OpenSocial attacks Facebook where it is the weakest (and the strongest): its quintessential closed nature…Even if you [...]

  53. I agree with John McCrea, OpenSocial will foster innovation. In any discipline, openness and collaboration foster innovation – the open source software movement is one example of this. The trend towards opening up API’s is creating a range of novel applications. It also makes the end user experience less fragmented and more useful and personally relevant. The user needs to feel empowered with the new wave of applications and not as though they’re being randomly bitten by a chump unless they request to be!
    Developers need to consider building end user choice and control into their cross platform social apps.

  54. What about Yahoo? Is Yahoo going to join OpenSocial or going to come out their on API ?

  55. Facebook Class: Sealed with a Kiss(Me) « GigaOM Sunday, November 4, 2007

    [...] hand, began the class by asking if everyone had received his Facebook message alerting them to that morning’s OpenSocial announcement. The class nodded. Of course they’d seen the message, they’d all been logging insane [...]

  56. 本周精彩文章(07年-44周) | KennyP’s Technology Blog Monday, November 5, 2007

    [...] OpenSocial, Google’s Open Answer to Facebook [...]

  57. AdaptiveBlue Announces ClosedPrivate, BluePhone News Expected Soon « GigaOM Monday, November 5, 2007

    [...] moved first with the F8 platform. Then Google (GOOG) and a coalition of other social networks responded with OpenSocial. Now, at today’s Defrag conference, semantic web startup AdaptiveBlue has announced [...]

  58. Why Is Google Afraid of Facebook? « GigaOM Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    [...] by Om Malik Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 1:55 AM PT | No comments Google (GOOG) announced its OpenSocial strategy last week, starting with some of the smaller (albeit fast-growing) social networks, and [...]

  59. Why Is Google Afraid of Facebook? « GigaOM « Fremontman’s Weblog Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    [...] Is Google Afraid of Facebook? « GigaOM Google (GOOG) announced its OpenSocial strategy last week, starting with some of the smaller (albeit fast-growing) social networks, and [...]

  60. OpenSocial is sure going to cause a revolution in the social networking arena. I believe its still in quite a nascent stage, but with so much momentum behind it, it should grow fast into becoming the default social network platform.
    Some sites have already spawned aiming to bring OpenSocial developers together. Check this out-

  61. The Daily JDA · Facebook killed Web 2.0 Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    [...] effect yet, but while the world is applauding the brilliance of Facebook developer platform and Google’s “Open”Social, I’m a little scared. This is a serious detraction from innovation. Instead of trying to [...]

  62. The “Killer App” Myth and the Rise of “Next Big Thing” Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    [...] the subject of “killer apps”. I recently got a call from blogger Steven Groves about Google’s OpenSocial announcement and got into a great conversation with him on the subject. I also read Steve’s post on [...]

  63. OpenSocial Déjà vu Wednesday, November 7, 2007

    [...] rounded up a consortium of social networks not named facebook and launched an open API called OpenSocial for querying and working with the walled social graphs maintained by the respective social [...]

  64. Local Headlines: Wed Oct 31, 2007 « State of Local Monday, November 12, 2007

    [...] and OpenSocial to Fight Facebook The Internet just got more interesting. GigaOM and the New York Times report that Google tomorrow will lead an “alliance of companies” in [...]

  65. The Days of our Facebook: How Love Moved to Hate  »TechAddress Sunday, December 2, 2007

    [...] OpenSocial goes live – blogosphere lines up in sheep formation and moves from Facebook camp to Google [...]

  66. just like how trillian came about for chat programs…now we get one for social networking sites!

  67. Comment on OpenSocial, Google’s Open Answer to Facebook by josh Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    [...] Read the rest of this great post here [...]

  68. A Very Google 2007: A Look Back – GigaOM Sunday, December 23, 2007

    [...] October 2007: Launches OpenSocial, takes on Facebook [...]

  69. Any info out there when linkedin would be opening up their interface to apps? Or if they will at all?

  70. blurgl blog – Welcome to the Enterprise Social. Fo’ shizzle. Thursday, January 3, 2008

    [...] recently announced something called (inspiringly enough) OpenSocial. Om has an article on it and TechCrunch has coverage also, so feel free to pop off and read those [...]

  71. Indian Cricket League Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    This was obviously on the cards

  72. Tyroneathyrol Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    for my boys in 215
    what it do and how
    it do… for anybody else
    hi, hello and have a nice day.. early

  73. hey Nano – sorry about that issue you had with puxa.com (I own the site). I had a development team do some work and they had a bad script that caused what you saw. Needless to say, the code is completely different now & I no longer do work with that development team.

  74. I don’t know if they can really get somewhere with that as almost everyone is already registered at one or more social networks and how much more can people really handle? isn’t it enough already?

    The should simply develop an existing social network to the open source network they had in mind.

    I hope that for once Google won’t be as successful.

  75. Innovationsradar » Blog Archiv » OpenSocial: Die Vereinigung von Online Communities Wednesday, February 20, 2008
  76. OpenSocial: Google verbündet internationale Social Networks – auch Xing » Beitrag » zweinull.cc Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    [...] Info am Rande: Laut GigaOm wird sich auch Deutschlands führendes Social-Business-Network Xing der OpenSocial-Initiative [...]

  77. Dorikuu’s Blog » CyberSocial Wars!!! Thursday, April 10, 2008
  78. Manoj Samuel Monday, May 12, 2008

    Check out the first open social application built for Orkut from our end. this is for a social cause unlike sending scraps to other friends without a purpose.


    Blood Search

  79. MSN » Blog Archive » Answer: – Taş Devri (çizgi film) Saturday, May 17, 2008

    [...] OpenSocial, Google’s Open Answer to Facebook « GigaOM Google’s (GOOG) much awaited answer to Facebook ecosystem is finally coming to light. The existence of this Google platform was first reported by TechCrunch [...]

  80. Woningen in Duitsland Friday, June 13, 2008

    Any info out there when linkedin would be opening up their interface to apps? Or if they will at all? ??

    And Someone ?

  81. Google’s OpenSocial to leverage open widget development and advertising , 77Lab Monday, August 25, 2008

    [...] network applications once, and then be able to apply their applications in many social networks – GigaOM reports that next to Orkut, XING, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Newsgator and Ning will be [...]

  82. WebWorkerDaily » Archive LinkedIn Launches InApps Application Platform « Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    [...] OpenSocial, Google’s initiative to build common APIs for developing social web applications? LinkedIn [...]

  83. SocialSofties » Blog Archive » Linkedin doet OpenSocial en biedt een applicatieplatform Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    [...] maakt gebruik van OpenSocial, Google’s initiatief voor het bouwen van common APIs tbv het ontwikkelen van Social Web [...]

  84. Google to Facebook: I Want to Suck Your (Social) Blood – GigaOM Friday, October 31, 2008

    [...] Google should have doodled a vampire on their home page today, in honor of Halloween and their announcement of OpenSocial, a set of APIs that allows web developers to write applications once, then deploy them on a variety [...]

  85. Google’s OpenSocial to leverage open widget development and advertising – 77lab – TEST Thursday, February 19, 2009

    [...] network applications once, and then be able to apply their applications in many social networks – GigaOM reports that next to Orkut, XING, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Newsgator and Ning will be [...]

  86. Pocketsurfer Friday, July 3, 2009

    Let’s hope we see cross network interop. That would be my dream come true. OpenAPI for all! Standards!!!!!

  87. Will Creating a SWAT Team Help Google Get Social? – GigaOM Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    [...] but it certainly hasn’t lived up to some of the early attention the launch of the project garnered a little over two years ago. Although social networks such as MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, Plaxo, Ning and [...]

  88. could not exactly turn some sentences. but in general was a useful article. I have read with admiration. good work.

  89. » OpenSocial and MyPunchbowl.com Punchbowl Blog Sunday, December 19, 2010

    [...] information and good reading on ZDNet, O’Reilly, Mashable, and GigaOm. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and [...]

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