Today Gigya announced that the company’s Socialize service will begin granting access to the API on Facebook and will integrate with MySpace later this month. The company is trying to bridge the gap for social application developers that are forced to spend time porting their Facebook applications to MySpace. Theoretically this implies that Gigya is also building a connector between OpenSocial and Facebook.
The service also competes directly with Google Friend Connect in that users can access their friends on any site that uses Socialize. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how significant of an announcement this is since the real challenge is sparking developer adoption. All the leading widget platforms enjoy boasting about the impressions that they have (such as Gigya has more than 150 million people that see their widgets each month) but few boast about developer adoption.
This has been a serious challenge for all the widget platforms and will most likely continue to be an issue as larger brands like Facebook and MySpace have been successful at individually attracting a substantial developer base. Another question I have about this new service is whether or not websites cater to both the MySpace and Facebook user bases.
I’d imagine that most developers that integrate with the social graph APIs (Facebook Connect, MySpace Data Availability and Google Friend Connect), will simply select the platform of their choosing. Gigya claims that they already have access to 50 million contacts since the launch of their Socialize service. The main purpose is to organize your friend lists across social networks in a single place.
Their are numerous services which provide similar aggregation services yet many have failed to take off as most users prefer to stick with the big brands: Facebook and MySpace. There is potential for this service to gain traction but for now I remain skeptical. Personally I don’t believe that the solution is to create a temporary offering which bridges the gap.
Now that a company has already done so, there is a decreasing advantage for Facebook and MySpace to remain disconnected. It will be interesting to see if services like the one Gigya announced today will be a catalyst for the progression of data portability.
Statement from Gigya
“Socialize enables website owners to add social features to web sites by making it easy for them to give their user’s access to their friend lists on Facebook and MySpace as well as webmail services. Socialize is not a tool for porting Facebook applications to MySpace. Socialize gives website developers direct access to Gigya’s API for custom implementations, or they can choose to implement turnkey components, hence its direct competition with Google Friend Connect. The announcement is more in the realm of data portability than about OpenSocial and application platform standards. Socialize is a broadening of our product offering beyond widgets.”