So the big news Thursday concerned Google's (GOOG) social networking initiative OpenSocial, a standard that will allow other social networking sites to basically adopt what Facebook's got. Of course, you have to sit up and take notice anytime a company launches a new offering, with buyin from the likes of MySpace, SixApart, Oracle (ORCL), Salesforce.com (CRM), and several others. Still, I'm not quite convinced that it's really the second coming.
First of all, I'll back up and say that I don't think Facebook is such a huge deal. I might regret writing that if it becomes the next Google, but oh well. Yes, I have a profile (feel free to add me if you're a reader of the blog), but there's really nothing to do there. It's a useful utility, though I was more blown away the first time I saw GMail. I take that back about there being nothing to do... it is a useful service for coordinating events.
Second, OpenSocial is being made out as though it's some sort of "surround Facebook" play, with all of these other sites ganging up on the leader. That's not quite it though. So a bunch of services are going to use the same technological standard, but will these networks actually start to talk with one another? If anything, this is good news for app developers, who (we're told) can now "write once" for all, but the game is to get users.
One other thought... Google says it's been working on this for a whole year with MySpace. Does this cast doubt on whether Google was ever seriously vying for a stake in Facebook? Also, were the non-MySpace participants kept in the dark about MySpace being involved? I ask because I saw this line on Marc Andreesen's blog, when he announced Ning's participation on Wednesday:
So was that just a guise?