Will OpenSocial (Google & Friends) Hurt Facebook? Nope.

October 30, 2007 — 09:34 PM PDT — by Kristen Nicole

As expected, a group of companies have teamed up to create a set of standards for developers to create applications on their own social networks. As with all great things, they must be brought down. Or at least attempted.

So who’s in on this? Google (Orkut), LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning. And their new standard will be called OpenSocial. It acts as a single platform, where applications can be distributed in a compatible manner across all participating networks. The hope is to take some of the shine off Facebook’s platform.

Soon after it launched, we saw announcements from nearly every other social network out there, including nearly all of the above. The problem we heard from several developers was the upcoming presence of several different platforms on which they’d have to build for. Who wants to do that?

Aside from this full-frontal attack from Google and friends, we also expected to see some services acting as developer aggregators, providing full-service or building tools for applications to work across these networks. So it’s no surprise that this group of social networks has taken the same tactic as NBC and News Corp. in their fight against YouTube.

Is this Google’s payback for losing the bid to Microsoft, and steering attention away form Facebook’s upcoming ad network? And can Facebook get in on the fun? Who knows if Facebook wants to get in on OpenSocial. MySpace is missing from the mix too, and frankly, neither Facebook and MySpace don’t need to be a part of OpenSocial. Not yet, at least.

But the very concept of the open platform has spurred a lot of development this past year, so it’s only a matter of time before more standards are introduced, and more services and tools arise for easy implementation of applications across more networks, regardless of their involvement with OpenSocial.