OpenSocial = OS of the web?
Plenty of commentary abound on the OpenSocial (OS) initiative, here are my two bits on it.
What it will do:
- Cost of application development and deployment will be southbound once most applications start developing their OS version. Since it can also be deployed as a Google Gadget, OS applications will have multiple delivery methods, including ones that cost hardly anything to deploy and distribute.
- It changes the rules of the game for applications. Now you can associate a single person with many identities across different networks. This is a core tenet of Brad Fitzpatrick’s Social Graph concept. OS becomes the force multiplier for applications and user data associated with it. This would be the first time that locally contained data and their containers will get to interact with each other over a defined specification at such a vast scale on the internet.
- The end result is that application makers are now going to be a new breed of business that won’t even need an online presence outside of the application containers (the networks) to make a living. OS will send already insane valuations of application development firms into the hyper-crazy region. Try imagining what this could do to a company like Flock.
- It will force Facebook’s hand to accept a specification that it did not create and join in the group hug. In the long run, the cost savings that an OS application will have over a Facebook-only application would be considerable, leaving most application developers with no choice other than to develop OS versions of their apps. With Myspace already on board, OS already has a vast number of users on it.
- No, this is not the end of the world for Facebook. Not even close to it. What it does is to (eventually?) force Facebook cede a bit of control on how its closed ecosystem lets others interact with it. And this move is not aimed just at Facebook, though Facebook’s success has surely played a major role in how OS came to be.
- It will force Facebook to clean up its act and improve weak links in its framework (example: groups) since it would now be possible to mix and match various features from disparate containers.
- The longer term impact of OS will only be clear with the passage of time. It is halfway between an act of desperation and an audacious move by Google and its friends, though I’d be surprised if even they are sure about how this will pan out half a decade from now.
- Does it not look funny that shortened version of Opensocial is “OS”? Is there a longer term plan with regard to this to make it the OS of the web?
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