The Development of Open Social Networks

Google’s latest move announcing the Open Social Project is a step towards standardising social networking online. To briefly explain how it works: by having a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple websites, developers can create apps that access a social network’s friends and update feeds. So project developers can build a single social networking application for multiple networks rather then the current model of building multiple applications based on each network’s unique API. This will cut down on development time and costs. Companies who already have decided to support it are for example MySpace and Plaxo.

There are though other similair moves, such as Facebook that recently announced their plans license their platform to other social sites. The idea is similair and builds on that developers will only have to write their widget or small application once if there is a common platform for structuring how the applications integrate with site. According to New York Times (source)Bebo has already decided to use Facebook’s standards for its own Open Application Platform, however, it will eventually support Google’s OpenSocial too.

Another one just entering social networking platforms is Cisco. They will offer the Cisco Entertainment Operating System that is a hosted software-as-a-service platform that Cisco will deliver to various media companies in 2008 according to New York Times.

The whole push for standardisation is good and needed. I have myself just started to try out a service called lifestrea.ms, which offers an attractive way collect all of your online content that you create but also from different networks and feeds. You have five different profiles allowing you to decided to what network of friends you want to post what, for example; public, friends, family and professionals. It is all based on standards and integrate perfectly with a bunch of services. I can for example post blogpost to wordpress, update status at twitter and upload pictures to flickr. It will at the same time be posted in the lifestream of the profile i prefer e.g. friends.

I am not fund of inviting people to different new networks every time so that is why I also am hoping on a standardised solution such as openid to enable people to easy join and be part of multiple networks. The open social project where you easily can import your friendlist and details are a step in the right direction but a big threshold is still the need for registration.

~ by Andreas Sigurdsson on December 17, 2007.

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