In a post entitled Checkmate? MySpace, Bebo and SixApart To Join Google OpenSocial (confirmed) Mike Arrington writes

Google may have just come out of nowhere and checkmated Facebook in the social networking power struggle.

Update (12:30 PST): On a press call with Google now. This was embargoed for 5:30 pm PST but they’ve moved the time up to 12:30 PST (now). Press release will go out later this evening. My notes:

On the call, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said “we’ve been working with MySpace for more than a year in secret on this” (likely corresponding to their advertising deal announced a year ago).

MySpace says their new platform efforts will be entirely focused on OpenSocial.

The press release names, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo,, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING as current OpenSocial partners.

We’re seeing a Flixster application on MySpace now through the OpenSocial APIs. Flixster says it took them less than a day to create this. I’ll add screen shots below.

Here’s the big question - Will Facebook now be forced to join OpenSocial? Google says they are talking to “everyone.” This is a major strategic decision for Facebook, and they may have little choice but to join this coalition.

Bebo has also joined OpenSocial.

I'm confused as to how Mike Arrington considers this a checkmate by Google. At the end of the day, this announcement is simply that folks like Slide and RockYou don't have to maintain multiple code bases for their widgets on various popular social networking sites. In addition, it brings the widget/gadget platform on these sites to a similar level to the Facebook platform. Of course, it won’t be on the same level unless it meets all the criteria from my post on how developers should evaluate the MySpace platform. Which is unlikely since besides MySpace, none of those sites have the userbase or engagement of Facebook users nor does any of them have the same kind of viral properties in distributing applications that Facebook platform has built-in

At the end of the day, will we see widget developers like the folks at iLike, Slide or Scrabulous leave the Facebook platform because of these announcements? Unlikely.

Will we see a mass migration from Facebook to MySpace or Orkut because you can now add Flixster or Scrabulous to your profile on these sites? Probably not.

So how is this a checkmate again?

OpenSocial simply keeps Facebook’s competitors in the game. It is more like a successful kingside castle than a checkmate.

Now playing: Backstreet Boys - Incomplete


Friday, November 2, 2007 5:20:36 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It certainly is a checkmate in the PR sense. And in getting developers attention. At this point, that's an accomplishment. Wether they capture the Facebook King, only time will tell.
Friday, November 2, 2007 5:34:22 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
> Now playing: Backstreet Boys - Incomplete
Backstreet Boys?? :)
Amit C
Friday, November 2, 2007 1:12:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare, Excellent points. I wrote a blog saying essentially the same thing. I made additional points about privacy issues and PII when exporting your "friend" relationships to other social networks.

When I agreed to be a friend of Robert Scoble, Mike Arrington, Marc Andresseen, and others on Facebook, that was just Facebook. Did I agree to have my "friend relationship" exposed on Orkut or 20 other social networks? No. Don't get me wrong, I am proud to be friends with Robert, Mike, and Marc. But, I think most users would agree that they didn't expect that their "relationship" would be exposed on other social networks. Or, that their name, picture, or any part of their personal profile would be exported to another social network. There may be a significant privacy issue here, or some questions about the use of PII (Personally Identifiable Information).

More details on my blog

Don Dodge
Friday, November 2, 2007 2:13:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I think this is a checkmating move, The social networking sites have now been reduced to hosts. Users we be able to choose their preferred social networking host rather then being dragged into a walled garden.
It strange to be worried about privacy when using FaceBook after the recent revelations about how FaceBook treats "your" information. OpenSocial is going to use OpenAuth.
FaceBook has no option but to join, after all who's going to join a social network that doesn't allow you to network outside the garden walls.
Friday, November 2, 2007 2:18:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
That sounds like wishful thinking. So far all that has been announced is an interoperable widget hosting platform. The fact that every social networking site will now be able to host YouTube and Scrabulous doesn't suddenly mean that MySpace and Facebook will suddenly lose users.

Heck, the fact that any Web mail service provider can "host" and receive your email didn't make Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail incapable of rising to the top. Why would this be any different?
Friday, November 2, 2007 2:45:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It won't be different, that's my point.
No one email provider dominates the market because It's an open system, After all how many email providers are out there ?
I can send email to anyone no matter what email provider their using, so it really doesn't matter which provider I choose (apart from personal preference).

The OpenSocial API is going to provide 3 kinds of information
1) Profile Information
2) Friends Information
3) Activities
If an application has access to all this the Social Networking sites really do become like todays email providers.

The only killer feature FaceBook had was that it managed to attract people who generate a lot of social gravity, Forcing their contacts to follow them, With OpenSocial contacts won't have to follow the the social gravity wells anymore ;)
Friday, November 2, 2007 3:34:03 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It seems we live in different worlds. In the world, I live in Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail are the dominant email providers with significant market share compared to the competition. In addition, thanks to lack of email forwarding and huge inboxes, it isn't common for people to switch providers even though in theory they can.

Thinking that exposing an API will suddenly change the dynamics of network effects and lock-in inherent in social software is pretty naive thinking.

Next thing you know, you'll say that if someone creates an IM network with Open Protocols and it is supported by Google, it will render proprietary IM networks obsolete. I'm still waiting for GTalk to displace Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger as the world's most popular IM clients. ;)
Friday, November 2, 2007 4:23:20 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Same world, different points of view.

Your reference to IM is interesting, yes there are many protocols but a lot of people are using clients which handle multiple protocols like Miranda, People don't like to be walled in.
I think the new OpenSocial Applications will look like the multi-protocol IM clients, in that some of your contacts will be on one host and others on another, and you won't care which.

Friday, November 2, 2007 5:22:20 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Backstreet Boys? wtf is wrong with you?
Saturday, November 3, 2007 5:46:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

well, as a Software Developer in Germany, and knowing this business since 1985, as the technology Internet was very unknown for the masses, I found this discussions nowadays very amusing. Big companies fight for the influence in the so called Web 2.0 (or are we now in 3.0). All these developments are just some sort of a game play. Google know becomes bigger and bigger and growth.
But on the other MS is often called as the big evil. It is very simple, Information is might, and if you can control this information, you have all oportunities you need.

Let the Games begin.

Karl-Heinz Reng
Saturday, November 3, 2007 6:54:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Agree that's isn't a checkmating move. But.

"The fact that every social networking site will now be able to host YouTube and Scrabulous doesn't suddenly mean that MySpace and Facebook will suddenly lose users. "

They'll lose pageviews from humans, that's the problem. Worst case here is that your social website is reduced to a data repository. You have all the cost of API access and storage and none of the incidental revenue that comes fropm people visiting your site. Afaict, none of the SNSes are set up for that kind of utilities business model.

Fwiw, I think the big winners here could be the telcos, insofar as the SNSes rationalising data access keeps them in the "owns the customer" game.

"Heck, the fact that any Web mail service provider can "host" and receive your email didn't make Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail incapable of rising to the top. Why would this be any different?"

Remind me: how do they make money? It's certainly not from having server arrays with no front end to visit.

Although I would also compare fragmentation in social networks to instant messaging rather than webmail providers.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007 2:46:50 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
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