May 14th, 2008 | Published in Google OpenSocial
For OpenSocial application developers, this gives you a whole new audience for your apps, beyond the hundreds of millions of users on existing social networks that support OpenSocial.
For OpenSocial containers, this makes your users' friend relationships more valuable by bringing them to other sites they visit and enlivens your activity streams with actions from their friends on these sites.
When I go out to talk to website developers about OpenSocial, I ask the question:
"Who here has written user registration code?"
- a lot of hands go up
"And who enjoyed it?"
- most hands go down.
To add personal or social features, websites need to know information about their users and their friends, but gathering and storing this is a lot of extra work. Prompting people to enter their information over and over again, for every site they visit, becomes tedious, often causing visitors to abandon the sites.
By abstracting out the ability to discover social information, OpenSocial enables web developers to write social applications that draw upon existing trusted sources that have become OpenSocial containers. However, up until now, becoming a container - adding new social applications for your users - has meant having to provide your own source of personal and social information. By using securely authenticated APIs from existing social sites, Friend Connect means any website can host OpenSocial apps.
In the future, Friend Connect will call the RESTful API for containers that support OpenSocial v0.8, helping their users share their web-wide experiences with each other on their favorite social site.
Friend Connect uses three open standards to connect to other websites. It uses OpenID for identity and logging in, it uses OAuth to authorize access to friend and profile data on existing sites that host it, and it uses OpenSocial to embed the applications within your site.
Making the web more social through the use of open standards is what OpenSocial is all about - have a look at example Friend Connected sites like www.ingridmichaelson.com and www.bibleapps.com. To find more details about the preview release, or to sign up as a test site, go to google.com/friendconnect/.