|25623 - Google and Friends to Gang Up on Facebook||31/10/2007 - 15:19:54|
On Thursday, an alliance of companies led by Google plans to begin introducing a common set of standards to allow software developers to write programs for Google’s social network, Orkut, as well as others, including LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning.
The strategy is aimed at one-upping Facebook, which last spring opened its service to outside developers. Since then, more than 5,000 small programs have been built to run on the Facebook site, and some have been adopted by millions of the site’s users. Most of those programs tap into connections among Facebook friends and spread themselves through those connections, as well as through a “news feed” that alerts Facebook users about what their friends are doing.
The New York Times learned of the alliance’s plan from people briefed on the matter. Google, which had planned to introduce the alliance at a party on Thursday evening, later confirmed the plan.
“It is going to forestall Facebook’s ability to get everyone writing just for Facebook,” said a person with knowledge of the plans who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the alliance. The group’s platform, which is called OpenSocial, is “compatible across all the companies,” that person said.
“Facebook got the jump by announcing the Facebook platform and getting the traction they got. This is an open alternative to that,” the person also said.
The alliance includes business software makers Salesforce.com and Oracle, who are moving to let third-party programmers write applications that can be accessed by their customers. The start of OpenSocial comes just a week after Google lost to Microsoft in a bid to invest in Facebook and sell advertising on the social network’s pages outside the United States. And it comes just before the expected introduction by Facebook of an advertising system next week, which some analysts believe could compete with Google’s.
Joe Kraus, director of product management at Google, said that the alliance’s conversations preceded Microsoft’s investment in Facebook. “Obviously, we would love for them to be part of it,” Mr. Kraus said of Facebook. Facebook declined to comment.
Facebook’s success with its platform has proved that the combination of social data and news feeds is a powerful mechanism to help developers distribute their software. They are now seen as must-have functions for many Internet companies. Other social networks and Web companies, including MySpace and the instant messaging service Meebo.com, have announced plans to open their sites in similar ways.
For now, however, Facebook has become the preferred platform for software developers.
By teaming with others, Google hopes to create a rival platform that could have broad appeal to developers. A person briefed on the plans said the sites in the alliance had a combined 100 million users, more than double the size of Facebook.
The developers of some of the most popular Facebook applications, including iLike, Slide, Frixter and RockYou, are expected to be present Thursday evening at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., where they will announce that they will tailor their programs to run on the OpenSocial sites.
The effort faces several hurdles. Developers may not see the advantage to writing programs that run across such remarkably different networks as, for example, LinkedIn, which caters to business professionals, and hi5, which is popular in Central America.
For Google, the effort could breathe new life into Orkut, which is popular in Brazil and other countries, but not in the United States. While the move could also help some rival social networks, Google could benefit from their success, in part, by helping to sell advertising on those sites.
Indeed, that strategy would fit into a model that Google has begun talking about recently. Vic Gundotra, who heads Google’s developer programs, said last week that Google would soon begin an aggressive project to create software tools and give them away free in an open-source format.
The goal, he said, is to improve not just Google’s applications, but any software that runs on the Web. That, in turn, would drive more Internet use, and Google would benefit indirectly by selling advertising, he said.
Google has not been able to establish itself as a force in social networking, and it clearly wants to. “One of the things to say, very clearly, is that social networks as a phenomenon are very real,” Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said in a recent interview. “If you are of a certain age, you sort of dismiss this as college kids or teenagers. But it is very real.”
Google said it has advertising relationships with several social networks, including a $900 million partnership to sell ads on MySpace, which the company said is performing well. Google is also making some money on Facebook, through ads that run inside applications that are used on that network.
A person familiar with Google’s efforts said that those applications have been far more effective for advertisers on social networks than users’ personal pages. “It is early, but those ads work very well, whereas the ads in overall social media platforms have shown less performance,” the person said. Mr. Kraus said that over time Google hoped to bring other social elements to Web applications, whether or not they run inside social networks. Analysts expect other Google services, including iGoogle, to be equipped with social features eventually.
Original Location: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/technology/31google.html?ref=technology
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|25625||Open Social: a new universe of social applications all over the web||opensocial ning||31/10/2007 - 16:09:35|
|25621||Details Revealed: Google OpenSocial To Launch Thursday||google opensocial social||31/10/2007 - 15:07:42|