Kevin Marks of Google gave some more information on OpenSocial at the Defrag Conference on Tuesday. It is all a little earlier in development and vaguer than I was hoping for, but there are a couple of important points here that were good to see. Reported on Read/Write Web.
- The APIs will be read and write – so one network will be able to pull user data from another – including bios and friend data.
- They are developing functionality that will allow networks to add users from another network. So I could add my Twitter friends to Facebook, for example (assuming Facebook supports OpenSocial…. isn’t it funny how in days Facebook has gone from being synonymous with ‘open’ to almost the opposite?)
These are important features if social networks are to become truly open. Without the ability to port friends lists in particular then we won’t have got very far.
The next question will be how fully the different social networks support OpenSocial. The history of the internet is that open always wins, but that is not the case across all areas of technology, and may not be the case forever on the web. The middle ground of partial compliance and standard manipulation could (unfortunately) become the smart way for companies to play in this market, as it is in many areas of telecoms today.