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In case you missed this news, Google’s OpenSocial API went live now (oh, and MySpace is now an official OpenSocial partner too, making Google-competitor Facebook come off as anti-social if they don’t join). The FAQ explains that…

OpenSocial

OpenSocial applications use Google’s gadget architecture but with extensions that provide programmatic access to social data within its container environment. Similar to Google Gadgets, OpenSocial apps are hosted XML documents with HTML/JavaScript within their bodies. (…)

One of the initial environments for social apps which use the OpenSocial APIs is Orkut. Other OpenSocial enabled websites are expected to launch support for developers soon.

So yes, the OpenSocial library is an add-on to Google’s existing iGoogle gadget syntax, making that framework of Google much more powerful now in the market… because when developers with limited time want to program their gadgets (social or not) only once, they’re now more likely than before to go for Google gadgets. This in turn may not only undermine Facebook in the long run, but also any personalized homepage competitor to iGoogle – such as Netvibes –, making big Google grow even bigger. And at some point, people may start to wonder when that is too big.

 

Indeed, Google’s market size is both blessing and curse for smaller web competiton. Agree to play by their rules and you get the chance to achieve more effective deployment, while adding to Google’s success as platform. Disagree, and your technology may not be able to get accepted on the market because Google is just too omnipresent. For Google as infrastructure provider, it’s a win in any case.

First examples

NewsGator sent in a screenshot of their own gadget prototypes as part of their Didja Hear program which filters the hot items from a database of RSS feeds.

To get started developing gadgets for Orkut, apply for an invite with Google. Rohit Rai got in already and shows off some screenshots of his first tries (Rohit adds that it was pretty buggy for him at the moment).

[Thanks all! Image by Rohit; Rohit’s blog is CC-licensed.]

Ongoing discussion…

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