What can I say about OpenSocial?

opensocial.jpgThe blog world, along with my slice of the twitter world, is abuzz with attempts to understand, analyze, deconstruct, laud, and excoriate Google’s new OpenSocial initiative.
One key question seems to be: is this true openness or simply using the (increasingly at risk of dilution) “open” mean as a handy cudgel to ward off Google’s current nemesis, Facebook, with it’s extremely popular but closed application development platform, active and growing userbase, and impending social ad network play?
Another key question I’m hearing people ask is whether this is a hand-off attempt by Google to hew to its roots of faciliating access to information and monetizing the traffic and data that passes through its metaphorical ands or is it an attempt to do judo and place itself at the hub of the social web as it matures?
My meta question might be to ask whether each pair of possibilities is truly mutually exclusive.
But I don’t feel like I really can comment on this right now.
If I were still an independent writer or even just a user experience consultant at an agency with a blog, I’d be much more comfortable jumping into the geek-punditry fray, but I’m not.
I work for a company that view Google and Facebook as competition, a company full of people who use both Google and Facebook, a company in the midst of announcing and operationalizing its new strategy, a company that has just made a commitment to openness and has its own ideas about what that mean, and it’s really just too hard to figure out what has been announced and what hasn’t and I really don’t want to talk out of school, so I’ll just adopt a wait and see attitude and for the time being keep my opinions to myself.

One Response to “What can I say about OpenSocial?”

  1. Jay Fienberg Says:

    I first ask the questions:
    1. is this a new way of creating linked info on the WWW?
    2. can that linked info live on any site, at any domain, owned by anyone?
    3. can the linked info link to any other domain?
    So much of the dot com and son-of dot com (web 2.0) era has been about sites and services that try to own the linked info on their own domains, and keep the links pointed to their own domains.
    So, when something comes up that maybe gets us a step past this, that’s again interesting.
    But, there’s another set of questions too: does this new thing try to control how people make links? And, if so, is it so pervasive that it prevents lots of people from making interesting links?
    I don’t think these latter questions are more subtle issues that will be more important if Open Social is really effective.

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