iGoogle Launches OpenSocial Sandbox

OpenSocial developers have just gained access to a whole new platform: iGoogle. iGoogle is the startpage for millions of users across the web. While it isn’t as robust as Facebook, the ability to distribute your application through more channels is always a good thing. The applications also include a canvas view that provides more space for applications in contrast to the standard widget-sized currently provided.

The canvas feature is a drastic change for start pages overall as widgets have become the standard. For me this means that we are witnessing the convergence of social applications as widgets. Once two distinct entities, widgets and social applications had separate roles. Now, widgets and social applications are rapidly becoming more ubiquitous and distribution channels are becoming more streamlined.

This means that developers can now reach more people with less effort. The only problem remaining is that lack of viral channels on iGoogle. A while back I contacted Tariq Krim, CEO of Netvibes, to suggest that they add social features to their startpage. At the time he didn’t understand my suggestion (could have been lost in translation) but in a matter of months, Netvibes enabled the sharing of startpage widgets across their platform.

Erick Schonfeld suggests that iGoogle may slowly become its own social network. That’s due to today’s addition of friend updates to the iGoogle homepage. The web is rapidly becoming more social and while all of these standards and features are a complete mess, soon enough much of this will hopefully become more straightforward and slowly we will see the centralization of social identity management on the web. For now, developers have another platform to play with. Check out the video below to learn more.