Michael Arrington (in TechCrunch) has posted a piece about a new social network (-ish) site coming from Google: OpenSocial To Launch Thursday. He has posted a fair amount of detail:
What they haven’t done is launch yet another social network platform. As more and more of these platforms launch, developers have difficult choices to make. There are costs associated with writing and maintaining applications for these social networks. Most developers will choose one or two platforms and ignore the rest, based on a simple cost/benefit analysis. Google wants to create an easy way for developers to create an application that works on all social networks.
From what I’ve read, this seems like a big bet on Google’s part, but a bet that’s very much worth making. And one that I hope they can win. The trick, it seems to me, will be to make the system sophisticated (and non-grabby) enough for big developers with lots of existing users to join in the fun, but also make it accessible for very small developers and hobbyists. There’s still a large long tail out there beyond who Facebook has signed up, and if Google can grab that as well as the existing users of large sites like Linked In, they might just have something worthwhile – and game-changing.