Google to Work with Various Other Internet Companies on Open Standards Social Networking

“On November 1st an alliance including Google, the most popular
web-search engine, and several other firms announced a plan to make
social networks as open as Netscape's browser made the web
. The group
released a set of standards, called OpenSocial, that allows software
developers to write applications that work with any social network that
participates. So far this includes Google's network,
Orkut, as well as LinkedIn, Ning, hi5, Friendster, Xing, Plaxo and a few others. Together, these have some 100m users, or twice as many as Facebook has. Oracle and Salesforce.com, two business-software firms, are also supporting the new standards.”

I think that what this means is that, instead of the locked-in, proprietary style of social network that Facebook has, where you have to log-in to access the features and applications, this new style will follow you as you surf the web.  So, if you visit YouTube, maybe you'll be able to see a list of videos your friends recently recommended.  If you visit Plaxo, an address book site, or LinkedIn, a business-focused social networking site, they will already know who your friends are without you having to search for people you know at each site separately. 

TechCrunch also has coverage and commentary.

You know the biggest thing holding Orkut from taking market share from Facebook in my opinion?  The fact that they used a meaningless name (it's named for the Google engineer who designed it) rather than something cool and/or logical.  If you have Gmail which is basically Hotmail on 'roids, why not have GBook?   GSocial?  GNetwork?  Okay, those names are dumb too but you get the idea. 

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