How many social networks do you belong to?  The three I use are MySpace, FaceBook, and LinkedIn.  What is frustrating to me is that more and more social networks are cropping up and my friends and colleagues are all in different networks.  Does that mean I need to be in all of them?  I have a hard time keeping up with one.

Google has created a set of APIs that won’t solve this situation, but might help.  Called “OpenSocial,” it is a common open set of APIs for building social applications across multiple sites.  What this means is that if a social networking site, e.g., FaceBook or LinkedIn, supports OpenSocial, then developers of applications for social networking sites can write their application just once and it can be used within any of the social networking sites.  This would allow users within LinkedIn to display a service that is within FaceBook, e.g., list of songs you like, and display it within LinkedIn.  This is great news for the developers — write the application just once, not for each social network — and for the users — we will have access to many more applications within one profile.

Google has posted an hour-long video that describes OpenSocial, how it works, and shows some examples of developers and social networking sites:

Although I think this is still in alpha, there is a list of developers that have already started working with OpenSocial.  Wouldn’t it be great to add some library-based applications?

[Google Press Release]


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