Updated: Speaking during a press conference about MySpace joining the OpenSocial train, Google CEO Eric Schmidt painted the big picture. "The broader story is the Web has moved to the next state. We knew the Web would have social framework and we knew it would be would be standard, open and extensible." Schmidt said the Google had been working for more than a year with MySpace in the social area.
MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe said, "OpenSocial APIs will be the defacto development platform for social application development." Until recently, MySpace was working on its own markup languages, similar to what Facebook has done.
Bebo, another popular social network, has also signed on to join the Google OpenSocial train. So far Google has amassed about a dozen partners in addition to MySpace and Bebo--Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, Google orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.
Google expects more partners to join and has reached out to Facebook (given that Gundotra said that his group has talked to everyone), but no announcement about Facebook..,or Microsoft.
TechCrunch quotes Brandee Barker, Facebook director of corporate communications, who said that Facebook had not been briefed on OpenSocial. "When we have had a chance to understand the technology, then Facebook will evaluate participation relative to the benefits to its 50 million users and 100,000 platform developers," she said.
However, people in the know have indicated to me that Facebook and Google have been talking about OpenSocial. So pleading ignorance won't last as a strategy for dealing with the OpenSocial movement.
While the APIs and applications are not quite ready for prime time, the momentum must be a great cause for consternation in the Facebook camp.
"At the end of day, we want the Web to be a better and more interesting place and for the maximum amount of innovation to occur. It only occurs if you are building new apps as opposed to rebuilding the same over and over," DeWolfe said in support of OpenSocial APIs. Google is also MySpace's partner in ad sales.