Yahoo! Backs OpenSocial; New Foundation Formed

Yahoo! announced Tuesday that it's joined forces with Google and MySpace to back OpenSocial, which aims to define a common API to allow social applications across multiple sites. Google, Yahoo!, and MySpace are also creating a non-profit foundation to "foster the continued open development of OpenSocial."

Google debuted OpenSocial in November 2007 and was soon backed by a large number of Web-centric organizations, including Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Oracle, and others. MySpace has already started offering OpenSocial applications, and, according to Google, hi5 will begin doing so as well as early as next week.

Yahoo!, for its part, said it's joining with the effort "to ensure the neutrality and longevity of OpenSocial as an open, community-governed specification for building social applications across the web."

"Yahoo! believes in supporting community-driven industry specifications and expects that OpenSocial will fuel innovation and make the web more relevant and more enjoyable to millions of users," said Wade Chambers, vice president of platforms for Yahoo!, in a statement released yesterday. "Our support builds on similar efforts with the OpenID community and will expand the opportunity for developers and publishers to benefit from an open and increasingly social web."

In a blog posting related to the announcement, Chambers added, " Industry consortiums such as this often start slowly and evolve over time. So far, OpenSocial is rapidly growing and adapting, but still in the early stages. We feel that this is the right step at this stage in its evolution. It’s no longer a trial balloon--it’s for real. We are taking this opportunity to help ensure websites and developers feel confident using OpenSocial as the building blocks for their new social apps."

As part of the move, the three have joined with the Web development community to form a non-profit foundation to promote OpenSocial and oversee its development and launched OpenSocial.org to serve as a repository for documentation and other resources.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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