Google has decided that when it comes to Facebook, if you can’t beat ‘em, API ‘em. Google’s OpenSocial, which will launch at code.google.com/apis/opensocial tomorrow, will be a set of APIs that developers can use to create applications that work on any participating social network. Google’s goal is to create an open layer that runs atop all social networks, diminishing the power of all the networks in the process.
It’s a smart plan, especially with the “fad” nature of most social networks, giving up on trying to have the most popular social network and instead trying to be the application layer that everyone uses. Google failed to buy Facebook, it’ll never get MySpace, Orkut will never be popular in the U.S., and a year from now, some unpredictable new network could be the new Facebook. Even if Facebook doesn’t use OpenSocial, new startups will use it, ensuring the next Facebook is a Google partner, not a competitor.
OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, handling profile information, friend/social graph data, and activity data (news feeds). All participating networks have to do is agree to accept the API calls and give back the requested data, and all that does is the hugely important step of opening up the data in the networks to be used by external applications, or by other social networks.
At launch, participating social networks are Google’s own Orkut, plus Ning, Plaxo, Friendster, viadeo, Hi5, LinkedIn and Oracle. Application providers already signed up are Flixster, iLike, RockYou and Slide, already the most popular Facebook developers, making it likely that the most popular third party Facebook features could soon be arriving at its competitors. The presence of Google’s Orkut, hugely popular outside he U.S., will be enough to make OpenSocial important despite lacking Facebook and MySpace.
One thing OpenSocial doesn’t do is let one social network access the data from another network, something Marc Canter has been pushing for lately. While the applications can use profile, friend and activity data, it can’t actually grab it and create a profile on a another network, like taking your LinkedIn data and using it to build a Friendster profile. You’ll still need to sign up with and create a profile on every network seperately.
Also participating are ING, Hyves, Tianji and Salesforce.com. There will be a developer sandbox at sandbox.orkut.com. No word on if Yahoo plans to participate, and you can expect Microsoft to stay out of it (Windows Live Spaces is a major social network, and Microsoft’s Facebook ownership stake will make it want to stay out of this war).
The draft press release, reprinted from VentureBeat, after the jump:
ComScore’s latest numbers on the top websites in the United States are out, and Fox Interactive’s websites, including MySpace, still hold the top spot in pageviews, while Yahoo’s sites rule in unique visitors. Google fell to #4 in pageviews, falling behind Microsoft, which had larger gains in August, while Google is closing in on Yahoo in the unique visitor category and holding strongly onto its #2 ranking.
Seems like the hot thing this year is for websites to hold presidential debates. The latest to jump in is MySpace, which is teaming with MTV to host a series of discussions between presidential candidates and youth voters. The event will be held on college campuses and both audience members and online viewers will be able to submit questions, with the online questions coming by IM, text message, or email. The event will be broadcast on MTV and MTVu, part of MTV’s Choose or Lose campaign
ComScore’s latest search engine market share numbers use a different methodology, one which includes partner sites that use a company’s search technology (such as YouTube, owned by Google). The new number give Google a nice boost and cost Yahoo and Microsoft somepreviously hard-won market share. Here’s the market share comScore reported in June with the old system, and the market share under the new system, plus the new July numbers:
You can see how Google gains over five points, Yahoo loses 1.3 percentage points Microsoft loses one, Ask loses a third of a point and Time Warner gains a third. The new system counts the top five search sites, the top fifty sites with search technology (like MySpace), major search verticals (like eBay and Amazon), partner search sites, search tabs (Google News, Google Images), local search (maps), and searches on international portals.
A little under 1/6 of Google’s searches come from YouTube and other Google sites. Mapquest gets more searches than AOL Search. MySpace search counts for about 2.5% of the entire market, and should be counted under Google, since Google powers it. Craigslist and Amazon are just under 1% apiece.
Nielsen//Netratings released their July numbers as well. The details:
Table 1: Top 10 Search Providers for July 2007,
Ranked by Searches (U.S.)
||Share of Searches
|| Yahoo! Search
||MSN/Windows Live Search
|| AOL Search
|| Ask.com Search
|| My Web Search
|| BellSouth Search
|| Comcast Search
|| Dogpile.com Search
|| My Way Search
News Corp announced that MySpace, its social networking site that is one of the most popular websites in the world, turns its first ever profit last year. MySpace had a profit of $10 million on revenue of $550 million, an admittedly small margin, but profitable earlier than most expected and on the way to becoming a successful business in its own right.
Bearing some responsibility for the success of MySpace is Google. Google made an advertising deal with MySpace a year ago last week, guaranteeing Fox Interactive websites $900 million over four years, meaning that if Google only barely made the guarantee, it still brought in just under half of MySpace’s revenue. I wonder how Google classifies these ads under its own earnings report, and, with the numbers so high, if shareholders should be given the numbers on how well these exclusive ad deals are working out.