Social Blur.

Is Facebook going down? That was a question I read online today as I saw the briefs about Google becoming the fifth largest conglomerate in the corporate world, fourth place going to AT&T (which btw, AT&T, I'd like better service please...the network going down every weekend is for the birds).

After probing a little further I discovered that Google was rolling out a new initiative called Open Social.

What is Open Social?
Google wants to create an easy way for developers to create an application that works on all social networks. And if they pull it off, they’ll be in the center, controlling the network. OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks: Profile Information (user data), Friends Information (social graph), Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff). Hosts agree to accept the API calls and return appropriate data. Google won’t try to provide universal API coverage for special use cases, instead focusing on the most common uses. Specialized functions/data can be accessed from the hosts directly via their own APIs.

Unlike Facebook, OpenSocial does not have its own markup language (Facebook requires use of FBML for security reasons, but it also makes code unusable outside of Facebook). Instead, developers use normal javascript and html (and can embed Flash elements). The benefit of the Google approach is that developers can use much of their existing front end code and simply tailor it slightly for OpenSocial, so creating applications is even easier than on Facebook. (courtesy,

Basically, the lines are now becoming blurred. Google is the big dog and will play nucleus to all social networks (exluding a main player, Facebook -- at least for the moment) and will allow users to use common applications and code on various social networking sites interchangeably. The lines will become even more blurred as the social moguls join forces.

I thought Seth Godin shared an interesting perspective on all of this in a blog entry he entitled Changing the Game.

Facebook has clearly packed a mean punch... as numerous social networking sites have joined with Google out of their Facebook-Fear, including the most recent additions to team -- MySpace and Six Apart. Will Facebook crumble under the pressure or because of its uniqueness continue to be the boardwalk of our day? Time will tell.

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