Google goes social for the second time

Written by Phil Cogar

October 31, 2007 // 11:25 a.m.

Tags: #google #opensocial #portal #social-networking

One of Google’s biggest traits is its ability to keep things under wraps. So two days before the intended launch date, information has finally surfaced about its new social networking site, named OpenSocial. Even the address isn’t active until the site goes live.

The basic premise of OpenSocial is that it’s a common set of APIs that developers can use to create applications for any social network that chooses to participate. Essentially, it will work to solve the headache caused by the plethora of social networking platforms that are becoming readily popular. Because of the cost of porting applications to multiple platforms, most developers simply choose a few platforms to focus on.

Google’s intention is to launch a system that is easy to develop applications for. Essentially, its plan is to set up three core functions for developers to access: Profile Information, Friend Information, and Activities. These three functions incorporate the quintessential ideologies of a social networking site, but by standardising the language Google is trying to make it easier for developers to reach many platforms.

Basically Google has launched its new social networking site as a portal to many other social networking communities. It has teamed up with a good selection of communities so far, hopefully with more to come. Sites are divided into two categories: hosts and developers. Hosts are the social networks participating, and include Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle. Developers thus far are Flixster, iLike, RockYou and Slide.

Not only will this make it easier for developers to reach wider audiences, it will make applications created by individual users, such as Seenly (created by our own bit-tech member relix) easier to create and distribute.

Do you have an idea for a great application, or do you wish that social networking would just go away? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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