From the sound of things, you would expect that Facebook has suddenly lost the war to Google’s new OpenSocial standard. The OpenSocial standard is simply a way to develop a single application that will ultimately be accessible to over 100 million users across the web. While amazing in theory, as of today you cannot launch an OpenSocial application and have it distributed across all of the platforms. While Plaxo has announced that you can launch applications on their site, they are the only site you can effectively do so on currently.
We already know that MySpace, Orkut and a number of other sites are going to begin supporting the OpenSocial standard in the coming months but they have yet to complete full integration. Each of these new platforms are simply duplicating what Facebook has already successfully developed. The competitors aren’t complete yet and it will be months before they do. Aside from the clearly unfinished platforms, what does Facebook gain out of supporting OpenSocial?
Plenty. Facebook would accept a standard that is now used across the web. Additionally, developers of applications will now have access to free hosting from Google. While Facebook has a data storage API, they have yet to announce whether or not their data storage has space limitations. After checking out the OpenSocial api, I see no reason for Facebook not to join. Has Facebook lost the war with Google? It depends on what battle they were fighting.
If you think that Facebook’s primary strength is their Facebook platform and that Facebook’s goal was to bring the entire web within Facebook, then yes they may have lost the war. I would argue that the platform is not Facebook’s primary strength. Facebook’s biggest strength is their ability to most accurately map the “social graph.” Facebook knows how I am related to people but only so far as that I input accurate information. If users do not put in accurate information Facebook may ultimately become just another social platform. One thing is for sure though: Facebook has nothing to lose by supporting the OpenSocial API except for having to admin that Facebook isn’t necessarily the social standard for all the web.
Do you think Facebook should join the other OpenSocial partners in supporting Google’s new standard?