Citizen Media Watch

november 1st, 2007

Two different takes on Open Social

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Today Google will announce its new web API for social networking sites called Open Social.
I’ve read two very different takes from Marc Andreessen and Dave Winer. I am leaning a bit more towards Andreessen, but it’s way too early to tell. Also he is already a Google partner in this, with Ning being one of the initial platforms that has encorporated Open Social.

Marc Andreessen explains the concept as similar to Facebook’s, but without the constraints. Any social networking system can be a container, and any application developed with the Open Social standards can be included in any of these containers.
One thing that seems promising is that it’s all HTML and javascript, making it easier to build applications.

Andreessen writes:

If you recall how I previously described the Facebook platform as ”a dramatic leap forward for the Internet industry”, you’ll understand why I think Open Social is the next big leap forward!
Open Social takes the Facebook platform concept and provides an open standard approach that can be used by the entire web. Open Social is an open way for everyone to do what Facebook has done…
…including Facebook itself, potentially

He has also published some screencasts and screenshots.

Dave Winer is more sceptical:

Standards devised by one tech company whose main purpose is to undermine another tech company, usually don’t work.
In this case it’s Google trying to undermine Facebook.
And I don’t think it’s going to work.
What would be exciting and uplifting, a real game-changer — Internet companies giving users full control of their data.
When Google makes their announcement on Thursday, the question they should be asked by everyone is — How much of my data are you letting me control today? That’s pretty much all that matters to anyone, imho.


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