OpenSocial Reaches New Landmark, Still Can't Beat Facebook

When OpenSocial was announced last year by Google, it was paraded around as the system which was going to force Facebook to open up. While Google wasn’t necessarily putting those words in their press releases, insiders suggested that this was the goal. At first I called OpenSocial a “coalition of the willing” but ultimately there was a good shot at the standard gaining mass appeal. The company has now attracted MySpace, hi5, orkut and Friendster to join and as I previously thought, Bebo was part of it (Erick Schonfeld seems to think they aren’t yet part).

Whatever the case, it’s clear that the competing platforms to Facebook still haven’t attracted the same number of developers and haven’t experience the same blockbuster growth that Facebook continues to post. Facebook has around 37,000 applications and continues to grow rapidly. How many applications does OpenSocial have across all of their social networks? Only 4,500. That’s less than 15 percent the size of Facebook.

OpenSocial makes a lot of sense though and based on numbers that Techcrunch was provided, OpenSocial may be prepared to double in size before the end of September. One interesting that I found interesting was the chart that Erick Schonfeld included in hist post about OpenSocial growth (pictured below). There isn’t exactly the hockey stick growth that one would hope for. Instead, the only growth that is being provided is by expanding onto new networks.

Contrast that with Facebook where they maintain one platform yet continue to post continuous growth. I’ll be interested to see if OpenSocial can find their way on to networks that are posting spectacular growth. One company not included in the chart is imeem, who continues to post growth but did not launch with “Google’s approval”. I’m not sure why that’s required to be included in the chart but somebody definitely thought imeem wasn’t important enough to display!

It will be interesting to see if OpenSocial can eventually become the defacto standard for social applications.

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