Today Google announced that MySpace, Bebo and SixApart are all joining OpenSocial in addition to the initial group that was reported two days ago. I was under the impression that Six Apart was already on board, but MySpace is the biggest news here anyhow.
This news makes the story even bigger than it already was, but I’m not sure that it checkmates Facebook, or even that it’s an aggressive move against them. I presume they are welcome to join OpenSocial. If there’s a checkmate here, it might be Microsoft whose king has been toppled. The MS investment last week in Facebook was based on a valuation that to a great extent relied on the perceived lock-in that Facebook has on its users. If that lock-in disappears, it completely changes the game.
Even more interesting for me than the Facebook-Microsoft angles to this are some of the unheralded partners in OpenSocial – particularly Salesforce.com and LinkedIn. Facebook is phenomenal at what it does, but what it does well is quite limited to “real” non-business social relationships – and despite what many have proposed, I don’t think there was a way for Facebook to route around that. OpenSocial, with both business-focused and personally-focused partners, has potential for growth in far more directions than Facebook has.
One question: whither OpenID? One of the great promises of OpenSocial is federated digital identity plus profiles… Can/will Google make this happen in a way that will keep communities that have thought long and hard about this happy? I sure hope so.