OpenSocial: Google takes a plunge into the social scene

Google is expected to launch its Social networking platform tomorrow, Halloween 2007, and we are wondering how many social networking companies will be shivering in their boots!

No it is not yet another social network. What it is, is a common API which will enable developers to build Social applications to a single set of standards, instead of having to learn a new syntax, like every other month, to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of each social network.

Google’s OpenSocial network will extend to partners such as  XING, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Newsgator and Ning, according to TechCrunch.

This could be huge, with Google suddenly becoming the “operating system” for the social networks, as Microsoft did for the desktop several decades ago, leaving Facebook and Myspace with their proprietary systems behind (a-la Mac).

Earlier this month Google was roundly snubbed by Facebook as they chose Microsoft as their Ad partner. It was clear that Google would not be sitting still for long. But
this transition to a truly open social platform still came way sooner than expected. Google sure knows how to keep a secret!

Earlier today, we wrote about Explode, a social aggregator engine that is seeking to share information across the social networks. It is not clear if Google’s latest plans will help Explode or not (make it possible for Explode to unify networks like LinkedIn and Plaxo that Explode has not yet attacked) or whether, as happens with many things Google, Explode and other companies will just find themselves redundant as time goes on.

* Pictures courtesy of GigaOm and therealmccrea

Technorati Tags: Google, OpenSocial, Myspace, linkedin, plaxo, ning, friendster, explorde, xing, hi5

Explode - the social engine for social sites

Explode is a “meta-social engine” that lets you gather together all your friends on various social networks in one place, and lets you communicate with them, even if they are on a different network. You can view their profiles and leave them messages.

For those who have been groaning under the weight of their multiple social networks, this is a great idea!

However, a  like this is hard to implement, for a couple or reasons.

1. Major sites are not accessible: respects robots.txt and does not catalog profiles from sites which do not allow it (robots.txt is a gatekeeper file which site owners can implement with directions on how they want their sites to be viewed by search engines). Well, that excludes Facebook and Myspace, both of which shun search engine robots at the door.

2. Hard to correlate user info: While on many social and professional networks, members use their real names, on sites like YouTube (that Explode does search) the norm is to use more “fun” names so it will be difficult for an engine such as Explode to connect a member’s different persona from various social sites.

Explode does plan to implement OpenID, which allows users to use a single digital identity across the web, so Explode will work for those who choose to be found.

Explode has made a good start with social networks such as YouTube, Twitter, , Tribe and Flikr. It does not cover business sites such as , yet. It goes a step beyond people search engines such as , by allowing people to connect across the networks.

Explode is an engine to watch as they build up more steam in the social networking arena!

Technorati Tags: Explode, Facebook, myspace, youtube, twitter, jaiku, flikr, social network, social search engine

iPhone - a few (color coordinated) widgets needed

   Guess who is opening up its platform - yes, the very last company that would come to mind - one that’s synonymous with “proprietary” - Apple! The company that taught us that function must follow form, and used color as their competitive differentiation, is now releasing an SDK (software development kit) so that anyone can build an application for the iPhone

The release of the iPhone SDK is slated for February of 2008 (in June of 2007 they announced that they would Apple would start supporting 3rd party applications built to Web 2.0 standards). Their current suite of web 2.0 apps include TwitterFacebook and Mundu. No doubt there will be a big rush to build widgets once they officially launch the new platform.

One thing is clear though, no matter what the application, the icon color better be just right!


Technorati Tags: iphone, apple, sdk, twitter, facebook

Microsoft and Facebook: Mark Zukerberg gets his way

Microsoft buys stake in facebook It is confirmed, Microsoft is in, Google is out. As we mentioned yesterday, Microsoft has announced that it is investing $240 million in Facebook, at a valuation of $15 billion!

This puts the current Microsoft stake in Facebook at 1.6% which is much less than the 5% stake that Microsoft was initially considering. We had written on September 24th, that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was “pushing for a whopping 15 billion valuation” for the Facebook site. Looks like this round has gone to Mark!

So Mark Zukerberg got his $15 billion valuation for Facebook, but it is not clear if Microsoft reduced the amount that they had planned to invest in the company or whether the 15% share that they had planned on acquiring was based on a lower valuation of $1.6 B. If that were the case, then indeed, Facebook got a a very good deal.

There has been much said about Mark “Zuke” Zukerberg’s spurning of lucrative offers for Facebook, but certainly a lot of credit has to be given for the fact that he has managed to grow the company into the 5th largest Internet presence, right behind the likes of Google, Ebay, Yahoo and Amazon.

Microsoft will begin serving targeted ads to Facebook’s 20 million active users (their user base has been growing by 3% a month). While Google has been spurned by Facebook, they will probably not be sitting still for long. They already have an advertising network deal signed with MySpaces’ parent company Fox Interactive Media, to serve ads to the 100 million MySpace members. One wonders if there is are any ownership discussions in the offing….

Technorati Tags: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Myspace, ad network, social network

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