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Google OpenSocial – like Google Base?

Rumor machine is in full swing and techmeme lately showed more similarity with a script for Sex, Love & Secrets. Latest secret story is that Google is about to unleash facebook killer of gigantic API-proportion. They even managed to gather two big enterprise giants – Oracle and Salesforce. Social graph goes enterprise 2.0?

To me this reminds me of another Google service. Anyone remember Google Base? Back in 2005 big promise was something like this:

Google Base is Google’s database into which you can add all types of content. We’ll host your content and make it searchable online for free.

Google probably recovered it’s Base investment in search dollars but end user enthusiasm didn’t match initial projections. As always adoption test is key.

Fast forward to 2007. Google is attempting to out-open Facebook with different kind of promise and with apparently cannibalized jotspot codebase.

Unlike other folks I see bigger impact of this news on the third party app market (Om is right on target here). Widget makers like iLike, Rockyou etc will have to take sides now. More effort on widget maker part should be rewarded by platform owners with better data-sharing and better ad economics. That to me is a bigger story here. There will be category of widget makers like premium, enterprise, basic and great unwashed long tailers. They will get access to data and APIs based on their level of allegiance to the platform god.

Battle for openness is like deja-vu all over again. Not sure how many folks out there remember Powerbuilder, X-windows, Oracle Forms, Visual Basic etc. Time and again you see major players  using big words like OPEN, INTER-OPERABILITY, PRIVACY, DATA PORTABILITY, USER EXPERIENCE etc to exert their platform influence.

At the end of the day promise of open has to be as honest as disclosing actual dollar value companies place on user data. Monetization is not open and it’s not even portable. Get real.

Category: Media, Tech

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