Google Open Social

Once again, I was hoping to make more of this but I haven’t had time and it’s already getting old news wise so here’s a bunch of things I noted about Google Open Social.

I mean, if Web 2.0 was all about having lots of bits and parts all over the place and throwing them together just-in-time in the context of a “social” experience, then being “open” will be what separates those who are caught up and have been playing along from those who have been asleep at the wheel for the past four years. Being “open” (or the “most” open) is the next logical stage of the game, where being anything other than open will be met with a sudden and painless death.

Imagine this: imagine designing a web service where you don’t store the permanent records of facets of people, but instead you simply build services that serve people. In fact, it’s no longer even in your best interest to store data about people long term because, in fact, the data ages so rapidly that it’s next to useless to try to keep up with it. Instead, it’s about looking across the data that someone makes transactionally available to you (for a split second) and offering up the best service given what you’ve observed when similar fingerprint-profiles have come to your system in the past. It’s not so much about owning or storing Address Book 2.0 as much as being ready when all the people that populate the decentralized Address Book 2.0 concept come knocking at your door.—Opensocial and address book 20 putting people into the protocol

Tantek makes the point that Open Social is a step forward for application portability, it mostly benefits developers, not users.

I was initially excited that OpenSocial might be a magic bullet for portable social networks but after some research, it doesn’t look like that’s the case—it’s all about portable social widgets.—Open?

Google has control over a frightening amount of information about our world, from maps and email to genetics and the world’s libraries. Tell me it’s a brave new, open social world and Google is leading the charge and I can’t help but be skeptical. They make great apps but I won’t accept the brain implant no matter how open Google assures me it will be.—OpenSocial: Three Big Concerns

If all OpenSocial does is allow developers to port their applications more easily from one social network to another, that’s a big win for the developer, as they get to shop their application to users of every participating social network. But it provides little incremental value to the user, the real target. We don’t want to have the same application on multiple social networks. We want applications that can use data from multiple social networks.?OpenSocial: It’s the data, stupid

There are all sorts of forums for proposing and discussing open Web technologies including the IETF, W3C, OASIS and even ECMA. Until all of the underlying technologies in OpenSocial have been handed over to one or more of these standards bodies, this is a case of the proprietary pot calling the proprietary kettle black.—Google OpenSocial: Technical Overview and Critique

There is no mention of a user-centric application authorization model. Specifically, there is no discussion of how users grant and revoke permission to access their personal data to various OpenSocial applications.

Hopefully, the world will remember another time when Google offered a free API and then pulled it. Maybe the world will also take a deeper look and realize that the functionality is dependent on Google hosted technology, which has its own terms of service (including adding ads at the discretion of Google), and that building an OpenSocial application ties Google into your application, and Google into every social networking site that buys into the Dream. Hopefully the world will remember. Unlikely, though, as such memories are typically filtered in the Great Noise.—Terms

Would people be jumping on this bandwagon so readily if it was Microsoft unilaterally coming up with an API, holding secret meetings geared towards undercutting the market leader, and then making sure that only those anointed partners get a head start on launch day by making sure a key part of the API isn’t released – even in alpha. (It obviously exists already, all the partners have that spec and even sample code, I’m sure. The rest of us don’t get access yet, until the GOOG says otherwise)… Christ, if this was a Microsoft move, there’d be torches and pitchforks out. I honestly don’t see why Google gets a free pass here.—Where the hell is the Container API?