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And everyone thought that Microsoft had punked Google by investing $240 million in Facebook for 1.6 of the social-networking site, when all the while Google had a plan for Orkut, that being OpenSocial — a set of common APIs for building social applications across the Web, (with a developer sandbox at Orkut).

"Orkut has tens of millions of passionate users who are constantly clamoring for new ways to have fun with their friends and express themselves through Orkut," said Amar Gandhi, group product manager for Orkut, Google's social networking service. "By using OpenSocial to open up Orkut as a platform for any developer, we can tap into the vast creativity of the community and make new features available to our users frequently."
— Source: "Google Launches OpenSocial, " John Battelle's Searchblog

Here's what's being said around the Web about OpenSocial:

  • OpenSocial - What a Difference a Day Makes
    Today Google made its official announcement (NYTimes coverage) of the networks that have joined their OpenSocial initiative. By adding sites not yet named in Tuesday's NYTimes piece, namely the addition of MySpace, we have a completely different picture of the combined OpenSocial sites compared to Facebook. By popular requests here's an updated chart:
  • Details Revealed: Google OpenSocial To Launch Thursday
    The new project, called OpenSocial (URL will go live on Thursday), goes well beyond what we’ve previously reported. It is a set of common APIs that application developers can use to create applications that work on any social networks (called "hosts") that choose to participate.
  • MySpace Joins Google’s OpenSocial
    Until today. MySpace and Google announced that the largest social network in the world will be joining the developing initiative by the largest search engine in the world. Google has said that over the past year, they’ve been secretly working on with MySpace to include them in the OpenSocial.
  • NewsGator Joins OpenSocial
    NewsGator was quick to take advantage of the new developer’s platform OpenSocial to create an application for Google’s new partners in the social networking space. Named "Didja Hear!?" this app will let you share and discuss multimedia images and video content. The premise of Didja Hear will basically organize and distribute video and image content between you and your friends.
  • Open Social: screencast and screenshots
    In yesterday's post, I described the new Open Social API, sponsored by Google and supported by a wide range of Internet companies including my company Ning.
  • Charlene Li comes clean on OpenSocial leak
    Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li now claims that she was the source of the New York Times scoop about Google's OpenSocial program, something we alluded to in a post yesterday about a quote from Li being scrubbed from the Times story.
  • Google to open Orkut OpenSocial developer sandbox tonight
    The campfire is burning tonight on the Google campus as the company prepares to launch a Orkut sandbox for working with the OpenSocial APIs. Developers will be able register, get the docs and try out their code on the Orkut "container." Other containers, such as Ning, MySpace and others, will become available based on schedules set by those companies. "Ning is ready to go," said co-founder Marc Andreessen. "We are waiting for the APIs to stabalize."
  • Google Open Social - Don’t Believe the Hype
    At first glance, Google’s Open Social sounds like a great thing. Open… Social… two great tastes that go great together, right? Maybe not. "Open Social" sounds a lot like an "Open Marriage" – on the surface some may think this sounds fun but after thinking about it for a minute you quickly realize it’s a bad idea