In a move possibly designed to one-up Facebook, online search giant Google will officially join the club of social software development platform providers Nov. 1, when it unveils OpenSocial, a set of application programming interfaces that will allow programmers to write social applications that will work on LinkedIn, Friendster and other social networking sites. The company's initiative is apparently an answer to the launch of Facebook's highly successful developer platform, on top of which 7,000 applications have been built since the social networking site launched it May 24.
Facebook, of Palo Alto, Calif., gives developers access to its users' profiles so they can build applications that work on Facebook, but this model is limiting because programmers have to use different APIs to build software for the other social networking communities. Google is going the extra mile by enabling programmers to write applications for multiple social networks under three APIs, which will offer access to a user's profile and their friends, and the ability to let their friends know that activities have taken place. In this learn-once, write-anywhere scenario, developers can tailor their application to run on any Web site enabled by OpenSocial.
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