Tonight Google is planning to unveil OpenSocial, a new set of API‘s which make up a common programming platform specifically built to use on popular social networking sites. The development platform will allow application developers to create third party programs to run on these sites without them having to learn a new platform and rewrite their components for each one.
Not only will the new common platform work on Google’s own Orkut, but has also already seen support from as many as a dozen other popular companies and social networking sites including Oracle, Salesforce.com, Hi5, iLike, LinkedIn, Slide, Ning, Friendster and Plaxo. Flixster, iLike and RockYou already have developers in the onboard. The very popular Facebook, who recently accepted a bid to go with Microsoft over Google and who “opened up” its own platform for 3rd party widgets, is not in the list of sites supporting the API’s, and neither is MySpace.
According to reports, although the OpenSocial platform is indeed “open” the individual sites hosting it will have a say in just how open they each would like to be, restricting the functionality or types of programs as they feel is appropriate for their own sites. Google also had additional plans for the future with the OpenSocial APIs, allowing them to access the vast data available in Gmail and personalized iGoogle home pages to target ads and then share advertising revenue with the developers. After the launch tonight there should be more information available on OpenSocial at Google’s site and a sandbox available for development against Orkut.