MySpace and Google are joining forces to launch a common set of APIs for building social applications across the web.
The partnership is part of an initiative spearheaded by Google called OpenSocial which aims to standardise and simplify the development of social applications.
The OpenSocial standards are designed to evolve through contribution from the open source community and as new features are developed by various partners. Global members of the OpenSocial community include Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, Orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.
The obvious exceptions are popular social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo.
Social networks are all the buzz on the internet at present and hundreds of millions of people share photos, rate movies and play games, creating a myriad of opportunities for application developers.
However, to get their application on all the social networks a developer has had to customise the application for each one. This forces smaller developers to focus on one or two networks as opposed to the many.
“Not only is this situation bad for developers, it’s bad for consumers too,” explained Joe Kraus, director of product management at Google. Kraus said that when developers can’t afford to do the work to make their applications work on a certain social network, the people using those networks lose out.
“Our partnership with Google allows developers to gain massive distribution without unnecessary specialised development for every platform,” said Chris DeWolfe, chief executive officer and co-founder of MySpace.
“This is about helping the start-up spend more time building a great product rather than rebuilding it for every social network.”
By John Kennedy