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How to Explain OpenSocial to Your Executives

by Jeremiah Owyang  |  
November 6, 2007

After Google's announcement of OpenSocial—"OpenSocial provides a common set of APIs [application programming interfaces] for social applications across multiple Websites"—many people are talking about it at the developer, strategist, and marketing level. I'm going to take it up for another audience—your boss. Feel free to repurpose this content any way you want.

You: A Web Decision-Maker

As a Web strategist, you are someone who is partially or wholly responsible for the long-term direction of your Web site, or the Web site of your clients. If you have to explain the announcement to your boss (or you are the boss), I'm going to help.


  • Social network: An network or community where people of similar interest share. MySpace, LinkedIn, and Hi5 are examples.
  • Mini-application, app, widget: These applications, created by third-party developers or your company, can "sit" on top of or alongside those thriving communities of connected people.
  • Platform, container, social network: Where the mini-applications can reside and interact.
  • API: The common code shared among platforms and developers of mini-applications.

Situation: On Nov. 1, the OpenSocial Is Announced

Consumer decisions are made on communities where trusted members share; as a result, savvy companies go where their market is.

We've hit a milestone on how the Web is becoming amorphous: Data is about to be shared easily and quickly in a fluid way.

Google and several other social networks in the alliance launched OpenSocial on Nov 1. Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook are not part of the announcement (yet).

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Jeremiah Owyang is a Web strategist, speaker, and blogger/videoblogger focused on how companies use the Web to connect with customers. He is active on Twitter and can be followed at jowyang; if you follow him, he'll follow you back.

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