Google To Challenge Facebook With ‘OpenSocial’

Cross platform open source tool aims to mimic Facebook functionality over a wide range of sites.

I’d be churlish to call this sour grapes but…

One week after it missed out on buying into Facebook search giant Google is to launch an open source tool for creating Facebook-esque third party applications across a wide range of sites including its own iGoogle and Orkut.

TechCrunch has grabbed an exclusive on this and claims the technology will be called ‘OpenSocial’ – the URL will apparently go live at some point today. It will entail a set of common APIs that developers can use to create applications that work on any social networks which choose to participate. ‘Profile’ (user data), ‘Friends’ and ‘Activities’ will be the three areas that apps can be built to access and, unlike Facebook, standard javascript and html coding will be compatible.

Major backers for OpenSocial are claimed to be in short supply at the moment but Oracle, LinkedIn, Viadeo, Friendster, Plasxo, Ning, Hi5, Orkut (obviously), Flixter, iLike, Slide and RockYou are all onboard.

Whether such a move can bring famously Brazilian-friendly but globally neglected site Orkut into the mass market remains to be seen, but one thing’s for certain: Google is ready for a fight.


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