Facebook outmaneuvers Google; Bebo launches FB-compatible platform

Facebook outmaneuvers Google; Bebo launches FB-compatible platform

Summary: Sometimes in life you need to look at something inside-out not outside-in. Facebook have announced that they are going to license their APIs and proprietary markup language to other social web sites - the first of which is Bebo.

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When Google announced "OpenSocial", a set of three common APIs designed to create an alternative developer platform to that offered by Facebook, I described it as a 'combine and conquer strategy'.

[OpenSocial] embraces the “small pieces, loosely joined” philosophy of the web, and in doing so, should help to re-balance third-party developer efforts away from Facebook’s proprietary platform, and back towards the web as the platform.

With a lineup of supporting partners including Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, and (at the eleventh hour) MySpace, how would Facebook respond? The common answer offered by analysts and pundit bloggers alike, including myself, was that Facebook would either be forced to join "OpenSocial" or continue to go-it-alone.

Sometimes in life you need to look at something inside-out not outside-in.

Facebook have announced that they are going to license their APIs and proprietary markup language to other social web sites - the first of which is Bebo.

At their own launch announcement yesterday, Bebo CEO Michael Birch said that the company has chosen to license FB's platform as they didn't want to add to a format war. In time the company will also add support for "Open Social".

Caroline McCarthy reports:

When OpenSocial (which has yet to launch in full) is ready and stable, Birch said, Bebo will add those APIs to its developer arsenal, too. "OpenSocial and the Facebook Platform are clearly different platforms," he said, then added jokingly, "Our lazy development team said they couldn't do both at once."

Joking apart, it does make you wonder if it's really necessary to support both. Why not just use Facebook's system which already exists and is incredibly well supported.  If more sites join Bebo in licensing Facebook's code, then Facebook really will have outmaneuvered Google.

Topics: Collaboration, Google, Social Enterprise

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5 comments
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  • I would guess that Brin and Page

    are throwing chairs around the office screaming "How dare they do this to us! We are GOGGLE!!!"

    Actually Google has had little sucsess against better entrenced companies in the areas where they try to expand. Search and Advertising was allways google's strong points, but in areaa of video, office apps, social sites they are not as good and greatly hapered.
    GuidingLight
    • All Googles got is huge server farms & a huge palette of integrated apps-NT

      NT
      raycote
      • But what good are those

        to the many companies who do not want to be locked in business wise to google?
        GuidingLight
  • RE: Facebook outmaneuvers Google; Bebo launches FB-compatible platform

    As a Facebook app developer (of a desktop recording screencasting app - http://apps.facebook.com/webinaria) who made several attempts to understand and code the same app for Open Social - this is refreshing to hear. The FB language of FBML took several months after launch to stabilize as it was, but it's support by other developers and Facebook itself made it workable. OpenSocial libraries (such as PHP) are not fully bug-tested, and their support for complex JavaScript/XML is poor. It also isn't really very social when you get down to it. You still need to code unique containers for each google partner, and each has it's own launch schedule.
    charlwood
  • RE: Facebook outmaneuvers Google; Bebo launches FB-compatible platform

    It's not GoogleSocial; it's OPENSocial. And that's the point. Facebook "licensing" it's code is silly, and so is anyone who actually pays them to use it.
    Allankh