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March 25, 2008

Yahoo to Support OpenSocial

Yahoo seems to be all about openness lately (Open Search, support for OpenID), so the announcement that the company intends to support Google's OpenSocial initiative shouldn't surprise anyone. OpenSocial is an API for writing social applications that work across multiple sites and many social networks started to work on implementing it: MySpace, hi5, orkut. From Yahoo's blog:
Yahoo! has always been about helping users find and share information online, and we love giving our broad and loyal developer community the tools they need to keep innovating on this front. Their echo our passion for creating the best Web experience for our users.

In this same spirit, we announced today that we’ve joined forces with Google and MySpace to create the OpenSocial Foundation, and will also begin supporting the OpenSocial standard. Industry consortiums such as this often start slowly and evolve over time. So far, OpenSocial is rapidly growing and adapting, but still in the early stages. We feel that this is the right step at this stage in its evolution. It’s no longer a trial balloon — it’s for real. We are taking this opportunity to help ensure websites and developers feel confident using OpenSocial as the building blocks for their new social apps.

OpenSocial Foundation has a web site that uses the recently launched Google Sites. The foundation will make OpenSocial more neutral and closer to becoming a web standard. According to a press release, "the OpenSocial Foundation will be an independent non-profit entity with a formal intellectual property and governance framework; related assets will be assigned to the new organization by July 1, 2008. The foundation will provide transparency and operational guidelines around technology, documentation, intellectual property, and other issues related to the evolution of the OpenSocial platform."

Two weeks ago, MySpace launched a gallery for OpenSocial apps, hi5 will officially open its platform on March 31st, while orkut has delayed the launch. Hopefully, this is the first step from a bigger initiative of making social networks more open and less self-centered.

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