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OpenSocial is a set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) for web-based social network applications, developed by Google along with MySpace and a number of other social networks. It was released November 1, 2007.[1] Applications implementing the OpenSocial APIs will be interoperable with any social network system that supports them, including features on sites such as, MySpace[2], orkut, Netlog[3],[4], Friendster[5], Ning and Yahoo!.



Based on HTML and JavaScript, as well as the Google Gadgets framework, OpenSocial includes four APIs for social software applications to access data and core functions on participating social networks.[6] Each API addresses a different aspect: one is the general JavaScript API, one for People and Friends (people and relationship information), one for Activities (publishing and accessing user activity information), and one for Persistence (simple key-value pair data for server-free stateful applications).[7]. OpenSocial is currently in alpha development. The initial version of the API that was made public was 0.5, followed by version 0.6 released on December 21, 2007. [8] Version 0.7 was released on February 4, 2008.[9] Version 0.8 was released on May 28, 2008. [10] Version 0.9 was released on April 16, 2009.[11]




OpenSocial was rumored to be part of a larger social networking initiative by Google code-named "Maka-Maka",[12] which is defined as meaning "intimate friend with whom one is on terms of receiving and giving freely" in Hawaiian.[13]


For launch, partners committed to supporting the OpenSocial APIs included the social network companies Bebo,, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, NetModular, mixi, MySpace, Ning, orkut, Plaxo, QuePasa, phpFox, Six Apart,; as well as business-oriented networking companies LinkedIn, Tianji,, Viadeo, Oracle, and XING.[1] Plaxo and Ning released OpenSocial support within the first day of the launch, with Plaxo adding OpenSocial support to its Pulse feature,[14] and Ning adding basic OpenSocial support ahead of its previously announced release[15] of full support in late 2007 to early 2008.[16] Developers who had already built applications implementing the APIs upon launch include Flixster, FotoFlexer, iLike, Newsgator, RockYou, Slide, Theikos, and VirtualTourist.[1] Initial OpenSocial support experienced vulnerabilities in security, with a self-described amateur developer demonstrating exploits of the RockYou gadget on Plaxo, and of Ning social networks using the iLike gadget.[17]. On Mar 25, 2008 Yahoo! also announced it has joined the initiative [18].

An open source project, Shindig, was launched in December, 2007, to provide a reference implementation of the OpenSocial standards. It has the support of Google, Ning, and other companies developing OpenSocial-related software.


Opened to much fanfare in news coverage, OpenSocial did not work well in the beginning; it only ran on Google-owned Orkut, and only with a limited number of gadgets, returning errors for other gadgets. Other networks were still looking into implementing the framework.

As reported by TechCrunch on November 5, 2007, OpenSocial was also quickly cracked. The total time to crack the OpenSocial-based iLike on Ning was just 20 minutes, according to TechCrunch, with the attacker being able to add and remove songs on a user's playlist, and to look into information on their friends.

On December 6, TechCrunch followed up with a report by MediaPops founder Russ Whitman, who said "While we were initially very excited, we have learned the hard way just how limited the release truly is." Russ added that "core functionality components" are missing and that "write once, distribute broadly" was not accurate.


OpenSocial is commonly described as a more open cross-platform alternative to the Facebook Platform, a proprietary service of the popular social network service Facebook.[19] After launching Facebook Platform in late May 2007,[20] as well as acquiring startup web desktop company Parakey in mid-July 2007,[21] the fast-growing Facebook has been widely reported as a challenger to Google[22] in establishing and leveraging a ubiquitous web operating system.[23][24] Compared to Facebook, which is ranked second by page views worldwide for the month of September 2007, Google's social network orkut is ranked sixth for the same month, with more than half its members living in Brazil.[22]

Reports on competition between the two companies increased with Facebook scheduling an announcement of an online advertising initiative (named Facebook Ads) the day after Google's social networking announcement was originally scheduled[25] (November 6, 2007[26]). The initiative includes ad serving and targeting programs (named Facebook Social Ads and Facebook Insights, respectively)[26] in competition with Google's market-leading AdSense and AdWords programs.[27][28]

Using OpenSocket [1] [2], the user can run OpenSocial gadgets within Facebook.[29]


  1. ^ a b c "Google Launches OpenSocial to Spread Social Applications Across the Web". Google. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-10-31.  
  2. ^ "MySpace and Google Join Forces to Launch Open Platform for Social Application Development". Google. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-11-02.  
  3. ^ "Developer / OpenSocial". Netlog. Retrieved 2008-09-17.  
  4. ^ "OpenSocial Week: Exitoso paso por Argentina". Sonico. 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2008-06-05.  
  5. ^ Helft, Miguel; Brad Stone (2007-11-02). "MySpace Joins Google Alliance to Counter Facebook". New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2007-11-02.  
  6. ^ Andreessen, Marc (2007-10-31). "Open Social: a new universe of social applications all over the web". Retrieved 2007-10-31.  
  7. ^ "OpenSocial API Documentation". Google Code. Google. Retrieved 2007-11-02.  
  8. ^ "OpenSocial 0.6 and Beyond". 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2007-12-21.  
  9. ^ OpenSocial API Blog: OpenSocial 0.7: Coming to a user near you
  10. ^ OpenSocial API Blog: OpenSocial v0.8 is defined
  11. ^ "OpenSocial API Blog: OpenSocial community defines version 0.9". 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-05-06.  
  12. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (2007-10-29). "Google’s Response to Facebook: “Maka-Maka”". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-10-31.  
  13. ^ "maka.maka". Nā Puke Wehewehe ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library. Retrieved 2007-11-01.  
  14. ^ Smarr, Joseph (2007-11-01). "OpenSocial is now live on Plaxo Pulse". Plaxo's Personal Card. Plaxo. Retrieved 2007-11-04.  
  15. ^ Bianchini, Gina (2007-11-02). "And ... We're Live with OpenSocial!". Ning. Retrieved 2007-11-04.  
  16. ^ Bianchini, Gina (2007-10-31). "OpenSocial & Ning". Ning. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  17. ^ Arrington, Michael (2007-11-05). "OpenSocial Hacked Again". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  18. ^ UPDATE 1-Yahoo supports Google social network applications | Industries | Technology, Media & Telecommunications | Reuters
  19. ^ Helft, Miguel; Brad Stone (2007-10-31). "Google and Friends to Gang Up on Facebook". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2007-10-31.  
  20. ^ "Facebook Unveils Platform for Developers of Social Applications". Facebook. 2007-05-24. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  21. ^ "Facebook Acquires Startup Parakey" (PDF). Facebook. 2007-07-19. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  22. ^ a b Stross, Randall (2007-11-04). "Why Google Turned Into a Social Butterfly". New York Times: Digital Domain. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  23. ^ Dreyfuss, Joel (2007-10-26). "Is Facebook An Operating System?". Red Herring. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  24. ^ Riley, Duncan (2007-07-19). "Could Facebook Become The Next Microsoft?". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  25. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (2007-10-30). "Facebook’s Social Ad Network: What We (Think We) Know So Far". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-07-06.  
  26. ^ a b "Facebook Unveils Facebook Ads". Facebook. 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  27. ^ Malik, Om (2007-11-06). "Why Is Google Afraid of Facebook?". GigaOm. GigaOmniMedia. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  
  28. ^ Nicole, Kristen (2007-11-01). "Newsgator Joins OpenSocial". Mashable. Federated Media Publishing. Retrieved 2008-01-24.  
  29. ^

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