This week the buzz in the social networking arena has surrounded Google’s OpenSocial announcement on Friday and the upcoming announcement expected from Facebook tomorrow. It seems that right now it pays to be social.
Google’s entry into the social networking arena with OpenSocial was fanfared on Friday. OpenSocial is a collaboration between Google and major SN players like LinkedIn, MySpace and Ning to facilitate building social networking apps and to encourage third party participation. The idea is that through application standardisation the development of social networking applications and add-ins will be easier and a shared API will lead to ease of deployment across different SN applications.
Facebook in turn is taking a run at Google on the Internet advertising front. With a big announcement expected from Facebook today rumours are circulating that the company intends to use data collected from user profiles to offer ads highly specific to interests and needs a la AdSense. Considering the personal data that Facebook has collected and the fact that Facebook is considered to be more authentic (profiles in Facebook are more true to real life than say MySpace), its really no surprise that the company is looking to harness this.
From a user perspective these developments can only be positive. The easier it is for companies to implement social networking technology, both on their web sites and Intranets, the better for enhanced communication, community and customer service. The integration of social networks will mean less time in the login and learning process for people like myself who use these networks as valuable business development tools. These, together with the ability to advertise to a highly targeted audience are all positive steps in the evolution of the social networking space.