Setting the standard

opensocial

Is it just me, or is there something a little bit desperate in Google’s response to Facebook, Open Social? Amongst all this cooked-up debate about whether Facebook will join the Open Social platform, there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the attraction of the platform.

If no one invented another application for Facebook (another annoying Spam-ridden app like Vampires or Fun Wall), would it whither and die? Hardly. Whereas, there would have to be something pretty special written for Orkut, Friendster or MySpace and the rest to get me to go back to them.

Where are all these developers who want to develop for Facebook but don’t have the time because they’re too busy developing for MySpace and Linked in?

Bear in mind that Facebook’s Event application was put together by Zuckerberg himself in one night. Photos reportedly took one week and now outguns all other online photo applications put together.

It is not a shortage of development time but a lack of good ideas which is holding applications back. And more to that point, the apps that make Facebook great, are the ones which really do extend the social graph. It’s not a coincidence that 87% of app installs come from just 2% of the apps. The other 98% are just noise.

What I want to know is why the people at Google can’t just make Orkut not shit? Or take the position they already have with documents, email, search history and everything they know about everybody and find a genuinely new way to bring people together. Competing with Facebook on its terms seems an unlikely way to win.

Update:

Just found this excellent post from Lauren Cooney which asks whether Google might have ‘complex’ motives of its own. Just how linked is OpenSocial linked to Google IDs? Just how much of that social graph juice will find its way back onto Google’s servers. Perhaps not so much doing evil, but certainly keeping an eye on the future revenue streams.

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