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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Google Launches Social Free For All

Google is blowing open the doors between widgets and social websites (and blowing up interest in Facebook development) with its OpenSocial set of programming standards (APIs). OpenSocial enables embeddable widgets to talk with the sites that host them so that things like friends lists can be accessed by third party applications, according to
InternetNews.com.

In the fold are sites Ning, Orkut, Hi5, LinkedIn, iLike, Flixster, and Slide. Google has a way to go in recruiting partners (Flickr, Twitter, MySpace) if it wants OpenSocial to become an industry standard. OpenSocial could put a world of hurt on Facebook if developers decide that reusable code is more efficient than writing Facebook-only apps.

From ads to video widgets to news delivery, widgets are turning the web into one big mashup pit. Getting publishers to allow -- let alone encourage -- third party applications on its website and access to some of its data -- is a huge shift that is also irreversible. This openness can make websites more useful (aka sticky) if publishers buy into it, and is nothing less than a revolution.

Google also continues to improve its free applications, including IMAP support for Gmail and formatting features for Google Docs' spreadsheets. These apps can be part of the mashup mix -- enabling people to read Gmail or browsing their Reader feeds from within their personalized home pages on other sites. Being open goes both ways.

By John Gartner at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)

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