Google's OpenSocial initiative, a set of APIs which let developers create widgets that will work on multiple social networks, looks like a reaction to Facebook's successes. But it might turn into another cog in the wheel of digital identity management.
"A lot of us were surprised over the last year to find social networking go from something frivolous and fun to something fundamentally important," says John McCrea, VP of marketing for OpenSocial partner and new social networking entrant Plaxo. "With that, we started to look at all these walled gardens in a different light and saw the real threat of the balkanization of social networks."
Several large partners already are signing on, including business social networks LinkedIn and Xing, once-reigning social network champ Friendster, as well as two business software companies, Salesforce.com and Oracle. That so many early partners are in business software and services indicates where social networks are headed, and why IT management should pay attention to this area.
Most of the apps on Facebook today are frivolous, including many by initial OpenSocial partners RockYou, Slide, and iLike, all of whom make consumer apps. Social networks taking root in business are more about maintaining work relationships, finding expertise and creating working and project groups on the fly. Integrating this type of capability with business apps could be powerful stuff, and it's much easier on developers and social network companies alike not to have to reinvent the wheel to create an app or app platform.
At this point, according to Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, "Google's APIs don't address our chief complaint about social networks -- our data is stranded and difficult to share with those outside the latest hip network." That's a problem for businesses who need more and more to be connected digitally to their partners and customers. However, by standardizing at least the communication of a few key social networking data points, Google's APIs at least lay the groundwork for the ability to share information among social networks.
What's your take on Google's initiative? Leave a comment on my blog.
"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three." - Alice Kahn
Why Linux Will Succeed On The Desktop
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Examine how more than 250 companies plan to adopt server virtualization technology in this recent InformationWeek Research report, Server Virtualization.
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One Laptop Per (Inner) Child
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Get Better Results from your IT investments In today’s environment, you need to get the most out of your assets and people … all the while serving the strategic needs of your business and dealing with growth and acquisition issues. In addition, it is critically important to quantify results of those investments for leadership and accurately track service level agreements.
ECM Finally Comes to the SMB Market: New Market Trends & Research Until recently, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) was an expensive technology reserved for large corporations – and large budgets. Join industry expert Dan Elam as he shares some new research for Kodak on the SMB market for ECM and provides insight and commentary about the findings.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.