Facebook, on December 12th announced that they will be licensing the Facebook Platform methods and calls. In essence if you have written an application for Facebook, it will be able to run on other sites that have a license for FB platform. This could be the shot that killed Open Social before it ever even really took off.
As seen in this Google Group for Open Social the To-Do list for Open Social is pretty extensive and this was only 2 weeks ago. Open Social is not even in an Alpha stage yet. Facebook on the other hand has the momentum with both developers and users. Google is attempting to defeat this by leveraging the ability for developers to write-once run-anywhere mentality and cross the boundaries of a site. Facebook has just defeated this without even trying and done one better. Bebo has announced that they will be using the FB platform for there site. Bebo is one of the largest social networking sites in the United States, number 3, and the largest in the United Kingdom. Bebo will also be supporting Open Social but that is a mere footnote in this story.
Has Facebook killed Open Social? Google has a lot of love from developers and the media as does Facebook even in light of recent privacy concerns over FB Beacon. Both Google and Facebook have passionate and active users, although Facebook’s are more active mainly owing to the site’s nature. Google has been viewed as one of the few sites on the internet interested in aggregating and freeing data and making it available to the public at large (except of course for information regarding it’s top executives, search data and PageRank algorithm). Facebook on the other hand is exactly the opposite, it locks your data away behind a wall of registration and requires you to try and find all your friends to create a use out of itself.
I love both Google and Facebook, I use them both constantly throughout the day, however I want to be able to pull all my data out on my friends all the time. I want a super contact management system, that integrates with all online applications, desktop clients, phones and other mobile devices. I have a Palm Pilot with data locked behind it’s propertiy format. I have a phone that I can send data back and forth to the palm with Bluetooth but can’t sync to each other. On top of that I have my email connections which can’t connect to either. I have my contacts in Facebook with all their data locked behind Facebook. All of this data is useful to me and I want access to all of it at any time. I don’t want to have to go to my email client to find a person’s email address, I don’t want to enter in information from a business card into 3 or more places and then find them on all my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
That would a killer application/format a way to pull my data out of every site, make it easily transferable to any other application or device. If it could sync and keep all the devices and applications up to date and current with all the information that would be even better. Plaxo with Pulse is coming close to this but there are still some problems with it’s service.
Before anyone leaves any comments telling me that I can do this using Outlook for Email and a Windows Mobile device, I want to have the option of changing devices and software on the fly, which that doesn’t allow me. I am in essence locked into Outlook and Windows, still generating the same problem. I want the freedom to switch devices and programs at will, and this in essence will make me a more likely purchaser of a device if I can try it out without having to do a lot of work to make it my device, ie. it contains my information on my contacts.
I don’t think Facebook has killed Open Social completely but it’s made Facebook more entrenched into being the premier social network site at least for the moment.