In even more news on social networking, Google has released plans to launch OpenSocial application programming interfaces after losing an ongoing battle to buy into Facebook. Microsoft eventually beat Google to the punch and bough a 1.5% stake for $240, valuing Facebook at $15billion.
The launch of the Google OpenSocial APIs aims to provide users with the ability to use applications across a range of partner social networking sites similar to the way Facebook opened up its interface to developers in May. Google have recruited several of Facebook’s fiercest competitors in Myspace, Bebo and Xing who will provide guidance on platform standards and through OpenSocial APIs will allow developers access to data required to build applications across all participating social network sites. This integration across a range of social networking sites will save developers building individual applications for each.
The OpenSocial partnership also includes , Friendster, LinkedIn, Oracle, Plaxo, Salesforce.com and Google’s own social networking site Orkut, but with Google’s latest addition of Myspace, the worlds biggest social network, OpenSocial sites now account for 5.1% of all US visited websites. Without Myspace the OpenSocial consortium could only boast 0.097% of total US web visits with Facebook alone accounting for 0.96%. However Facebook remains the fastest growing social networking site increasing from 14m to 50m users a month from September 2006 to September 2007.
It seems both partners and developers are optimistic about the OpenSocial idea as for developers it lowers the cost of developing for individual platforms. For partners it is an opportunity to break down walls of Facebook and Myspace who have attempted to create closed web operating systems, grabbing valuable real estate in the process.
As a result of this partnership it seems Facebook is up against it, and in response is expected to unveil a new advertising strategy that is likely to involve selling targeted ads to members that will justify its $15billion price tag. But figuring out a method of serving the right ads in real time to the correct people is the challenge, and whether Facebook can develop such a system, justifying its price tag in the process remains to be seen.
“That’s a very difficult problem at large scale, with so many ads and millions of people,” said Greg Linden
There is no doubt that Facebook have a data gold mine, but it is exploiting it that could be the problem.