Yahoo, Google, and MySpace 'Socialize'

Dennis Faas's picture

MySpace, Orkut, Bebo, Friendster, Twitter and of course Facebook have changed the Internet. By leading the Web 2.0 charge, social networks have had a big influence on how we interact online.

Last week, Google announced that it would join with Yahoo and MySpace to form the Open Social Foundation. The new group will work together to promote the application programming interface (API) OpenSocial. APIs are the source codes that programmers use to develop applications for use on social networking sites such as Facebook's SuperWall and Scrabulous. (Source:

The idea is to promote a community-based approach to application development in true Web 2.0 fashion. OpenSocial will be made available under the Creative Commons license, which means the code can be freely copied, distributed, transmitted, and adapted as long as the original developer is credited. In addition, the OpenSocial Foundation will be a separate entity that will develop source code standards without direct corporate interference.

While the new initiative will largely concern developers, there could be some noticeable benefits for consumers including the ability to port applications from one account to the next. However, no specific plans for implementation have been announced.

Facebook, the hottest commodity in social networking, will not be participating, but has not ruled out participation in the future.

Not to be outdone by Google, Microsoft has also announced plans to increase interoperability between social networks. The software titan has announced it will be working with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, Tagged and LinkedIn to allow users to move their contact lists between social networks and Windows Live. (Source:

Both Microsoft and Google have been promoting greater openness on the Internet, but as each company fights for a bigger piece of the advertising market online, this openness may be more about gaining partners and control than fostering a creative, free environment.

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