I had a big, grand post planned out - I was going to dig into both the strategy and technical issues behind OpenSocial. Unlike those who proclaimed "Checkmate" based off of nothing but the PR hype, I was going to astound the blogging world with my insights and biting criticism. I even had a clever Saturday Night Live inspired title picked out: "OpenSocial is Neither Open Nor Social: Discuss"
Basically, there are two problems that I'll summarize here:
- OpenSocial doesn't give most developers what they want, which is the ability to mash up data from multiple social networks in order to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
- The APIs exposed are woefully inadequate. So you get access to a friend list, and the friend object contains a name, updated date, link to profile, and link to picture. Umm... Thanks? Anything beyond that needs to be specified as a custom extension to the schema. This is going to make it really hard on developers to create applications that work in more than one OpenSocial container. Translation: a MySpace app isn't going to work out of the box in LinkedIn, unless it only loosely integrated into the social network.
With these limitations, most OpenSocial apps are destined to be nothing more than glorified widgets - widgets that have the ability to spam your friends. Is that what we all want?
Note: these opinions are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer.