Non-profit OpenSocial Foundation formed as Yahoo jumps onboard

Yahoo today announced their support for OpenSocial, the Google-led standard for developing applications that work across supporting social networks. Except, technically at least, OpenSocial isn't the sole property of Google anymore, following the formation of the non-profit OpenSocial Foundation.

OpenSocial Foundation formed as Yahoo jumps onboard
Yahoo today announced their support for OpenSocial, the Google-led standard for developing applications that work across supporting social networks (e.g. OpenGadget).

Except, technically at least, OpenSocial isn't the sole property of Google anymore, following the formation of the non-profit OpenSocial Foundation, whose custodiands MySpace, Google (and Yahoo) will "ensure the neutrality and longevity of OpenSocial as an open, community-governed specification for building social applications across the web", according to the press release.

Similar to the community-driven OpenID effort:

The OpenSocial Foundation will be an independent non-profit entity with a formal intellectual property and governance framework; related assets will be assigned to the new organization by July 1, 2008. The foundation will provide transparency and operational guidelines around technology, documentation, intellectual property, and other issues related to the evolution of the OpenSocial platform, while also ensuring all stakeholders share influence over its future direction.

More tidbits from the announcement:

  • all specifications are available under a Creative Commons copyright license
  • public community involvement shapes the specification's direction
  • an open source reference implementation called Shindig is being created and developed as a project in the Apache Software Foundation incubator, available at http://incubator.apache.org/shindig/

In many ways the formation of the OpenSocial Foundation doesn't really change anything, at least for the consumers of social networking sites that already, or have plans to, support OpenSocial. As for the partnering sites themselves or third-party developers who were wary that Google's influence over the 'standard' could be too great, the creation of a non-profit, along with Yahoo's participation, might go some way to addressing their concerns.

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