Write once, run anywhere. I’ve heard this before right? I’m not too impressed that Google has built a framework to do this. Wowwee, they must have used half the brains in the company to do that or maybe half a brain. So now application developers can write an application and it can run anywhere. That’ll revitalise Orkut so will it? How exactly will an app that runs on Orkut benefit someone on mySpace or Bebo? Will it not mean that mySpace could actually take Bebo users now? All this does is make it easier to deploy Facebook/Social Network apps somewhere else but these app developers wanted to do that anyway and could not because the other companies didn’t have APIs or free ones (Bebo has a hefty charge to plug into it). And since when did programming for Facebook become difficult? How many days will the Super Adult Poke developer save now because of this?
All of these apps are run off a third-party server so most of the work programming the apps is done on your own server not Facebook, not mySpace, not Bebo. If these guys each brought out their own APIs, you’d just get a smart kid that would create an “Export to” app to allow your app to run on these sites. So Google’s allowed a smart 15 year old to spend more time on his Olsen Twins fake porn collection instead. Billion dollar companies are nice like that.
Also, OpenSocial won’t actually mean write once, run anywhere as each site can make their own proprietary calls too so an application writer could very well have to write an app that will only work on one site and have to change it for each additional site as Marc Andreessen explains:
Think about it. Every site will have their own wants as will Google. Are they all given equal say as to what the “standard” API will cater for and what the future changes will be? It’ll be like the bloody United Nations as politics and agendas come out to play.
And why exactly if the Funwall App is now available on Bebo and mySpace, will I go back to them? It’s not about the apps, they might increase usage of the sites but Facebook is more than the mostly unused apps that are available for install.
A universal framework is just Esperanto. All these social networking countries still have their own culture, giving them apps that are on other sites might entertain some users but will it keep them from being dragged into Facebook? Facebook existed before their app platform, the opening of which got 1000s of geeks to make crappy things for Facebook which no doubt helped the hype. If Google helps all these other sites create their “Social Graphs” fantastic too. Maybe it’ll increase the time existing people spend on Bebo and mySpace and Vox. Or maybe they’ll be so overloaded with each one that’ll give up on all but one and hey they can now afford to leave Bebo as they can move their data to Orkut and all their apps. Thanks Google!
Nice quote from Russell Beattie too:
Would people be jumping on this bandwagon so readily if it was Microsoft unilaterally coming up with an API, holding secret meetings geared towards undercutting the market leader, and then making sure that only those anointed partners get a head start on launch day by making sure a key part of the API isn’t released – even in alpha. (It obviously exists already, all the partners have that spec and even sample code, I’m sure. The rest of us don’t get access yet, until the GOOG says otherwise).
One thing would have impressed me and maybe this is coming. Make OpenSocial a level 3 platform. This is what I’d expect Google to do. Google will be the runtime environment for all Open Social apps meaning the app creator doesn’t even need to have a backend for their application. Have they got their datacentres ready for that? Update:(While this was still in the timed queue) Sam Sethi is reporting that Google will in fact host your apps. Ooooh.
You know how Facebook should counter? Open up access to their new social advertising platform which competes against adsense.