My Canon SD1000 camera dies... "Lens error, restart camera"
Any Vermonters out there want to head up to FacebookCamp Montreal on Wednesday (Nov 7)?

Still thinking about Google's Open Social... does it truly tear down the walls of social networks? Or just make widgets work across socnets?

200711021131Unless you have been under a rock for the past few days, you should by now be aware that Google released an API called OpenSocial. There is a new Google blog that had the announcement, which included this:

OpenSocial is a set of common APIs that will work on many different social websites, including MySpace, Hi5, Ning, orkut, and LinkedIn, among others. In addition, this allows developers to learn one API, then write a social application for any of those sites. Learn once, write anywhere, if you will. And because it's built on web standards like HTML and JavaScript, developers don't have to learn a custom programming language.

The list of OpenSocial partners is quite extensive... basically everyone in the social networking space except Facebook, but also including other companies such as and Oracle. Having the big players like MySpace and LinkedIn is definitely key. Google has also provided a wealth of information:

I find it all intriguing. There is a great amount of talk in the blogosphere about how this "tears down the walls" of social networks... and it does - in one aspect. It seems to me that this is really a direct shot at the Facebook Platform in that it gives application developers the ability to create applications that work across multiple networks. So from the point-of-view of a developer, this truly does open up the world of social networks. You can now write an app that is not just restricted to the confines of Facebook's walled garden, but instead can run in any of the other social networks out there (that support OpenSocial).

So it solves part of the problem out there in social networking... and it looks like quite a compelling way to do so. I'm certainly going to be reading the tutorials and experimenting with sample code.

But please let's remember that there are other issues with the walled nature of social networks. For instance:

  • Why do I have to sign in with a different username and password to each of them? Why can't I just have a common (and secure) username/password that I use? (such as OpenID)
  • Why do I have to recreate my friends list in each social network? (something the "social network portability" folks are looking at)

OpenSocial lets apps be created that work across multiple networks. I commend the folks behind it and supporting it. But let's please remember that it solves only one part of the overall "open" issue.

I need to really play with it more before I can comment further. In the meantime I'm capturing here a number of links related to OpenSocial that I have found useful:

Stay tuned for more...

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