Google announced Nov. 1 that it would launch OpenSocial, a set of application\n programming interfaces (APIs) for social networking sites\n that allow third-party developers to create widgets and\n other applications running on a common code base.\n MORE ON CIO.com\n \n MySpace Joins Google's OpenSocial Project\n \n Facebook, RIM to Bring Social Networking to BlackBerrys\n \n Microsoft Puts Money Down on Web 2.0 Trend\n \n Yahoo Messenger Boosts Social Networking Features\n While Google\u2019s effort started with the support of\n MySpace, the largest social networking site, as well as big\n software vendors Oracle and Salesforce.com, experts warned\n OpenSocial wouldn\u2019t do much to open the content of social\n networking sites up to one another. The project could benefit\n corporate IT departments by making available a greater number\n of applications to choose from if they decide to build social\n networks for their companies.Google's OpenSocial program is seen as the company\u2019s\n strongest move in social networking to date, and a response to\n the rising popularity of Facebook, the number-two social\n networking site that is growing at a faster rate than\n MySpace. But OpenSocial\n doesn\u2019t \u201copen\u201d the content of these social\n networking sites to users who aren\u2019t part of their\n online network; this walled-off nature has long been a\n contentious issue raised by many power users of social\n networking sites. Traditionally, if someone was a MySpace\n user and wanted to view his or her friend\u2019s Facebook\n file, for example, that person would have to sign up for the\n other service as well and create a new profile. OpenSocial\n doesn\u2019t change that reality.The OpenSocial program \u201cwill help the small developer\n trying to make applications for more sites, but this\n won\u2019t really open up data between the [social networking]\n sites,\u201d says Ray Valdes, an analyst at Gartner.In addition to third-party developers who create\n applications geared at the consumer, heavyweight technology\n vendors got in on the fun. Salesforce.com and Oracle, both big\n in the CRM space, say they both will support the open standard.\n As a result, businesses that decide to use social networks in\n their enterprise technology offerings could allow their\n employees to add applications that serve both personal and\n professional needs.\u201cSalesforce.com supporting OpenSocial is one of the\n biggest stories that\u2019s underplayed here,\u201d says Anil\n Dash, a vice president with Six Apart, which sells enterprise\n blogging software such as Movable Type and Vox, and which came\n out in support of OpenSocial. \u201cRight now, we have this\n false separation that this social network is for my\n personal life and this one is for my professional\n life. People don\u2019t work that way,\u201d he added.At first glance, the announcement looked like a counter\n punch to the splashy news last week that Facebook would\n sell a 1 percent stake to Microsoft for $240 million. Executives at Google and\n MySpace\u2014which has 200 million registered\n users\u2014said that every company, including Facebook, is\n welcome to adopt the common standards for development set by\n OpenSocial.But Facebook, which forces developers to tweak their\n applications to meet its proprietary code, has not made it\n clear whether it would consider embracing the open\n standard.\u201cThere\u2019s an oppositional scenario in which the\n battle lines could get drawn [between social networks],\u201d\n says Gartner\u2019s Valdes. \u201cPeople could elbow their\n friends to say you\u2019re either with us or against\n us.\u201dJoining MySpace in the deal were a slew of smaller social\n networking sites, other technology vendors and third-party\n developers. Some other partners deemed as\n \u201ccontainers\u201d\u2014sites that would accept the apps\n developed on the OpenSocial platform\u2014included LinkedIn,\n the Google-owned Orkut, Friendster and Ning.