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OpenSocial targets social apps API 'balkanization'

OpenSocial targets social apps API 'balkanization'

Google's Scott McMullan talks about OpenSocial

Many social applications are designed for end users to load information into a database, be it text, photos, videos, audio, whatever. If someone adopts one of those applications for, say, the eight social networks he's in, he has to enter the data separately on each Web site. As part of the OpenSocial effort, will Google help end users with this data portability problem?

That's an interesting idea, but we don't have anything to talk about regarding that at this time.

Does OpenSocial have any features for advertising functions?

We don't have it now, but we're very conscious the developers want to monetize their applications. So, part of this discussion is to figure out how that can be made to happen and if the APIs have an impact there or if there are other mechanisms for advertising [that fall] outside of the API.

OpenSocial, in theory, will let developers write an application once and have it be compatible with any Web site that supports the OpenSocial platform. However, for Web site publishers, is there value in having the same applications as 30 or 40 other sites, some of which it may compete against?

We're not that far into this notion that developers should be thinking about social features, not only for social networks but for all kinds of applications, in a standardized way. When you think about the number of developers that will be brought under the fold to unleash their creativity, one side is, yes, that one application may run on 20 different sites, so as one of the Web sites you feel less special. But the upside is you've got orders of magnitude more developers who can bring their creativity into your environment. Although the APIs are the same, the context isn't the same, the notion of friends isn't always the same, so you still have the ability to differentiate yourself and tap into that giant pool of developers. That's the ultimate upside.

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