OpenSocial is a consortium of key players in the social networking and on-demand application space. In addition to Google’s Orkut, the initial launch partners will include LinkedIn, Salesforce.com, Ning, Hi5, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle.
OpenSocial will consist of a set of common APIs which will be used across all of the above platforms. The three common APIs will cover the following areas:
- Profile information (user information)
- Friends information (the social graph)
- Activities (similar to Facebook news and mini feeds)
This is a big step for the social networking space. Facebook was a big first step, but most (all?) of the apps built for Facebook to-date have been entertainment focused. While some of the partners here are consumer (Hi5, Orkut, Friendster), this opens up some critical business platforms like LinkedIn and Salesforce for the development of b2b apps.
Meanwhile, Dave Winer takes a contrarian position. As he points out:
Standards devised by one tech company whose main purpose is to undermine another tech company, usually don't work.