OpenSocial...is a set of common APIs that application developers can use to create applications that work on any social networks (called âhostsâ) that choose to participate.
OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:
- Profile Information (user data)
- Friends Information (social graph)
- Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)
Hosts agree to accept the API calls and return appropriate data. Google wonât try to provide universal API coverage for special use cases, instead focusing on the most common uses.
Brad Fitzpatrick's (Google) social graph problem piece a well-clued problem statement (though Web aspects of a potential solution could have been underlined more), and there's been plenty of good input on the mailing list. The only part I find worrying is the " defined by Google with input from partners" line. What's best for vendors (who appear to have advertising dollars as their primary motivation) isn't necessarily what's best for the Web. AÂ syndicate of big companies isn't much better than a monopoly. But in the near term, I'm sure there'll be improvements in the user experience with the various partner services.
Will this stuff be truly open, usable as linked data (with appropriate authentication) or will it still be hogtied within those partners' environments? This hints at a mixture:
Applications can have full functionality on profile and/or canvas pages, subject to the specific rules of each host. Facebook, by contrast, limits most functionality to the canvas page, allowing a widget on the profile page with limited features.
I guess we'll find out more tomorrow. Even if this spec doesn't allow the graph to be fully opened out, it's still a step in the right direction. Should be good for the widgetarians at any rate.
In general, companies that have traditionally seen value in keeping information to themselves won't be willing to simply open the doors (irrespective of the complexity of issues like maintaining personal privacy). But the potential value-add of the network effect to individual organizations from a Web of Data is hard to ignore (immovable object meet irresistable force). So over the next few years I expect we'll see increased business clustering, sharing of data resources within multi-corporate entities. But there's a crack in the dam wall, and that dripping isn't going away.Â@en