is a set of common application programming interfaces
(APIs) for web
-based social network
applications, developed by Google
along with MySpace
and a number of other social networks. It was released November 1
. Applications implementing the OpenSocial APIs will be interoperable
with any social network system that supports them, including features on sites such as Hi5.com
Based on HTML
, as well as the Google Gadgets
framework, OpenSocial includes four APIs for social software
applications to access data and core functions on participating social networks
API, one for People and Friends (people and relationship information), one for Activities (publishing and accessing user activity information), and one for Persistence (simple key-value pair data for server-free stateful applications).. OpenSocial is currently in alpha development. The initial version of the API that was made public was 0.5, followed by version 0.6 released on December 21
. Version 0.7 was released on February 4, 2008. Version 0.8 was released on May 28, 2008.
OpenSocial was rumored to be part of a larger social networking initiative by Google code-named "Maka-Maka", which is defined as meaning "intimate friend with whom one is on terms of receiving and giving freely" in Hawaiian
For launch, partners
committed to supporting the OpenSocial APIs included the social network companies Bebo
, Six Apart
; as well as business-oriented networking companies LinkedIn
, and XING
released OpenSocial support within the first day of the launch, with Plaxo adding OpenSocial support to its Pulse feature, and Ning adding basic OpenSocial support ahead of its previously announced release of full support in late 2007 to early 2008.
Developers who had already built applications implementing the APIs upon launch include Flixster
, and VirtualTourist
. Initial OpenSocial support experienced vulnerabilities in security, with a self-described amateur developer demonstrating exploits
of the RockYou gadget on Plaxo, and of Ning social networks using the iLike
gadget.. On Mar 25, 2008 Yahoo!
also announced it has joined the initiative .
An open source project, Shindig, was launched in December, 2007, to provide a reference implementation of the OpenSocial standards. It has the support of Google, Ning, and other companies developing OpenSocial-related software.
Opened to much fanfare in news coverage, OpenSocial did not work well in the beginning; it only ran on Google-owned Orkut, and only with a limited number of gadgets, returning errors for other gadgets. Other networks were still looking into implementing the framework.
As reported by TechCrunch on November 5, 2007, OpenSocial was also quickly cracked. The total time to crack the OpenSocial-based iLike on Ning was just 20 minutes, according to TechCrunch, with the attacker being able to add and remove songs on a user's playlist, and to look into information on their friends.
On December 6, TechCrunch followed up with a report by MediaPops founder Russ Whitman, who said "While we were initially very excited, we have learned the hard way just how limited the release truly is." Russ added that "core functionality components" are missing and that "write once, distribute broadly" was not accurate.
OpenSocial is commonly described as a more open cross-platform
alternative to Facebook Platform by popular social network service Facebook
. After launching Facebook Platform in late May 2007
, as well as acquiring startup web desktop
in mid-July 2007
, the fast-growing Facebook has been widely reported as a challenger to Google in establishing and leveraging a ubiquitous web operating system
. Compared to Facebook, which is ranked second by page views worldwide for the month of September 2007, Google's social network orkut
is ranked sixth for the same month, with more than half its members living in Brazil.
Reports on competition between the two companies increased with Facebook scheduling an announcement of an online advertising initiative (named Facebook Ads) the day after Google's social networking announcement was originally scheduled (November 6, 2007). The intiative includes ad serving and targeting programs (named Facebook Social Ads and Facebook Insights, respectively) in competition with Google's market-leading AdSense and AdWords programs.