A Glimpse into How Google aims to Change the World of API’s with Open Social

The Web is already Social. But engagement and interaction is still a problem.



There are multiple networks. The trouble with API’s today is that one application is restricted only to one network. And there are multiple networks.


So developers have to question –


-       Which API’s should I learn?

-       Which network should I get bet big on?



Distribution of the application is thus limited.


Open Social is about creating common API’s that can then be distributed across platforms. Thus its about making the Web More Social.



Open Social is about Distribution for multiple websites.



Major Networks that have tied up with Open Social

-       LinkedIn

-       Bebo

-       Orkut

-       MySpace

-       Friendster

-       Hi5




So essentially there’s more users for every application and more application for every user.



For a developer – he needs to know HTML and Java Script.


The only issue is that it’s almost like a “Google Certificate” that you need to be a developer online.


So essentially Open Social is going the Facebook Way. There is:


-       Update

-       Display: Real estate on the Page



Open Social does not really make “open social” ‘social’. There was iLike and iRead that compared data from friends. There are now travel related API’s that pin point comparisons on maps and thus there is an opportunity to leverage social information with a ‘birds eye view’.



What Google has done is made Open Social more contextual. So there will be business related applications on LinkedIn that will make the API more useful.


To test the API’s goto www.sandbox.orkut.com or www.opensocial.ning.com




While Designing Your Own social application


1)    Engage quickly. Show value and make it fun.

2)    Mimic the look and feel of the host site. Make your application to LinkedIn look more professional and ‘businesslike’

3)    Enable Self Expression

4)    Make the Application dynamic – let it evolve as it collects more information

5)    Expose Friend Activity

6)    Browse the Graph – make recommendations within social circles. Also try and make the application unearth new friends and contacts that one may or may not know.

7)    Drive communication – Do this beyond communication that already exists. Eg. Your network tells you birthdays but it doesn’t essentially give you an opportunity to communicate with them instantly and send them an e – card.

8)    Solve a real World Problem



The Problem with Open Social essentially is that there is no News Feed Sort of Mechanism built into the variety of Social Networks that Open Social Supports. That can be a problem because the viral impact will definitely be reduced – I can’t be notified if 2 of my friends are having a food fight, so I wont be tempted to add that application.



The updates mechanism does come into the picture only when 2 friends add the application. Thus it becomes ‘social’ only when 2 friends allow the application to be embedded. 

4 Responses to “A Glimpse into How Google aims to Change the World of API’s with Open Social”

  1. January 23, 2008 at 3:13 am #

    Good writeup, good suggestion list.

    I think the friend-activity-feed capability is already being built into OpenSocial, but it’s really up to the container host (MySpace, LinkedIn, et al) whether they want to implement this at all. I would expect to see most of them have this capability in their OS containers in the coming months.

    API spec for fetching ‘activity feed’ information:

  2. Srivatsan
    January 23, 2008 at 6:54 am #

    Good one…

  3. January 24, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

    Nice post

  4. January 24, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    Thanks Eklavya – im glad u liked it! It helps to go to all these summits!

    Btw – iv gone through ur reports and they are pretty awesome! Im sure it set a great foundation for the blog and the other things that this company does.

Leave a Comment

× 6 = forty two