AOL support for OpenSocial; Too many friends?; Gears to power MySpace messaging; Obama prefers Facebook

The social web weekly: a quick-fire roundup of some of the news, announcements and conversations that have occurred throughout the week…
Written by Steve O'Hear, Contributor

The social web weekly: a quick-fire roundup of some of the news, announcements and conversations that have occurred throughout the week…

  • AOL announces support for OpenSocial. These days we can no longer talk in terms of 'company x' joining Google's OpenSocial, since the standard for creating socially aware applications/widgets is no longer 'owned' by one company. Nonetheless, AOL have announced they'll be adopting OpenSocial's family of APIs right across their properties, starting with myAOL adding support for Google's Gadgets. Writing on the official OpenSocial blog, Eric Staats, Principal Software Engineer, AOL said: "... adopting Gadgets as our widget format within myAOL is the first step in adopting OpenSocial across AOL products and services. Gadgets will allow us to offer developers more opportunities to bring their ideas to myAOL, while keeping our users safer. Additionally, Gadgets will make it easier for application developers to create new tools and widgets for myAOL that will also be available to AOL users across the web at large on any OpenSocial enabled [site]."
  • How many friends is too many? That's the question that RWW's Josh Catone asks, in reference to social Web sites such as Facebook or Twitter: "Offline, I have a network of under 50 people that I interact on a regular basis as friends. But online, the concept of "friend" is completely different. On Facebook I have nearer to 250 friends, on Twitter I have just over 300 followers. That's just a blip compared to how many friends some of the true power users on those services have...". I'm no Scobel either, with a humble 110 "followers" on Twitter (help me move up the league), a humble 63 "friends" on Facebook (where I'm still trying to wrestle with my own privacy concerns) and substantially more contacts on LinkedIn. Each networks' own terminology: friends, followers and contacts, pretty much sums up how ambiguous the notion of a "friend" can be on the social Web, as each of those groups includes close friends, offline and/or online, as well as people I hardly know.
  • Google Gears to power MySpace messaging. MySpace has begun rolling out significant improvements to its messaging system, used by many members as an alternative to email. By leveraging the Google-led "Gears", an open source framework to support browser-based applications, MySpace is adding search functionality and various ways of sorting messages. TechCrunch's Mike Arrington is impressed by the results: "I’ve been testing the new feature for a few days on my MySpace page. Instead of scrolling through pages and pages of messages, users can now sort by date, from, status (read/unread) or subject. And, more importantly, users can also search the full text of messages. The results are shown instantly (think Outlook), without page refreshes."
  • Obama's campaign prefers Facebook to MySpace.  A little tidbit from paidContent's post on the Obama campaign's online ad spending: "Obama chose to spend $47,000 on Facebook, versus $11,500 on MySpace."

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