By trev on Jun 09, 2008
This is a gift from heaven for vendors such as iLike, giving access to much broader network of potential users. Many social network giants such as hi5, MySpace, and LinkedIn have already implemented the OpenSocial standards, and many others are in the process. You will not see Facebook on the list however. They have taken the Microsoft approach with their Facebook Platform, defining and supporting only their own proprietary API.
As the browser and desktop grow closer together, people begin to speculate about the race to a "web operating system", a common virtual desktop that would be the crown of distributed network computing. While there are products out there that literally emulate a desktop, Google is the undeniable leader and innovator in this space (that is, redefining the relationship between the desktop and the browser); they've closed the gap considerably with tools like Google Gears, Google Apps, GWT, and now, OpenSocial.
Sun is well aware of the world's social media trends, and as Jonathan notes in his blog, nearly half the world's population resides in the developing countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Africa (BRICA). These are the economies most embracing of open source software and standards, and represent a fast-growing sector for technology firms. From the business model perspective, these are the next several million people that social networks and content developers will try to reach. Look for OpenSocial to be the foundation for much of that movement.