Standards war for social networks? Facebook opens up its platform to compete with OpenSocial

With all the bruhaha going on about Facebook’s Beacon it is good to see them back in the headlines for positive reasons.  The news is that they are opening up the architecture of their platform, the impact of which, apparently, is that other social networks will be able to licence the code and update themselves to allow Facebook applications to run in their networks without modification.

From the Facebook developers blog:

In the next step of opening up Facebook Platform, Facebook is now making its platform architecture available as a model for other social sites. Facebook will even license the Facebook Platform methods and tags for use by other platforms, which means that the 100,000 developers currently building Facebook applications can make their applications available on other social sites with no extra work.

Google’s idea with OpenSocial was, of course, a very similar write-once-run-anywhere, which means we have an emerging standards war on our hands.  For me this is good news, in that competition will force both Google and Facebook to put less emphasis on their own interests and more on what application developers need – post this announcement I think there is a much greater chance that we will actually get to a situation where applications can genuinely run cross platform.  That said the fragmentation will be a bit of a bind as developers will be looking at write-twice-run-anywhere rather than write-once.

Bebo has already announced support for the Facebook platform.

There is more analysis here on Webwar.

Thanks to Jay for the tipoff.