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Google is to release code that allows any web site to create their own facebook using a common set of APIs.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
Piers Fawkes, PSFK on October 31, 2007. @piers_fawkes

Google is to release code that allows any web site to create their own facebook using a common set of APIs. Open Social is an open web API that can be supported by two kinds of developers:

  • “Containers” — social networking systems like Ning, Orkut, LinkedIn, Hi5, and Friendster
  • “Apps” — applications that want to be embedded within containers — for example, the kinds of applications built by iLike, Flixster, Rockyou, and Slide.

Marc Andreessen says that this is the exact same concept as the Facebook platform, with two huge differences:

With the Facebook platform, only Facebook itself can be a “container” — “apps” can only run within Facebook itself. In contrast, with Open Social, any social network can be an Open Social container and allow Open Social apps to run within it. With the Facebook platform, app developers build to Facebook-proprietary languages and APIs such as FBML (Facebook Markup Language) and FQL (Facebook Query Language) — those languages and APIs don’t work anywhere other than Facebook — and then the apps can only run within Facebook. In contrast, with Open Social, app developers can build to standard HTML and Javascript, and their apps can then run in any Open Social container.

… Is this good for the web? This is very, very good for the web. Open Social is the kind of standard that web developers love, and can easily use. I think it will become a standard part of many developers’ toolkits. It builds on HTML and Javascript, many people can support it, and it will be interoperable — I know that because it already is interoperable for the partners in this week’s launch. It’s all good.

Where’s MySpace? Beats me.

Where’s Yahoo? Beats me.

…Closing thought? Congratulations to Google — the crew at Google has been outstanding in conceiving of, implementing, and evangelizing Open Social to the initial set of partners — and now, to the world. Thanks!

We are excited.

Google Open Social
blog.pmarca.com: Open Social: a new universe of social applications all over the web

TOPICS: Web & Technology
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Piers Fawkes, PSFK

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Piers Fawkes is the founder and editor-in-chief of PSFK, a daily news site that provides a go-to source for new ideas and inspiration. He also is president of PSFK Labs.

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