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Battle Lines Being Drawn Over OpenSocial 63

Posted by kdawson
from the very-very-beta dept.
SkiifGeek writes "Microsoft employees have already openly criticized Google's OpenSocial initiative (recently discussed here), and now there's news that one of the first OpenSocial applications, emote by Plaxo, was hacked within 45 minutes of appearing on the Net (it was subsequently pulled while Plaxo looked into fixing the holes). Although coding errors can happen to anyone, leaving evidence of lax programming discipline when all it takes to view your code is 'View Source' is poor form. It seems that the battle lines have been drawn between Microsoft and Google through their social networking proxies, with Facebook getting ready to fire the next salvo in the social networking battle."
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Battle Lines Being Drawn Over OpenSocial

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  • by SIGALRM (784769) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:07PM (#21257667) Journal
    First, let's define the problem: Facebook is winning the social network wars. Even though Myspace has a trillion users, it is passe and Facebook is The New Thing. As more people join Facebook, switching costs get lower, leading to a cascade effect. In terms of the diffusion of innovations curve, Facebook is now being heavily adopted by the "Early Majority", indicating they've got a good one or two years left of substantial growth. In Google's eyes, this is a major problem because it can't really afford to "lose" at social networks for the next two years.

    The OpenSocial value proposition goes something like this: Adopt opensocial, push your data into more places, and everyone wins. Consumers get their information needs answered in more places, and companies get their footprint in more places. And more or less, I think more relevant social services in more places is a win, but not in the Facebook-killing way.

    To put it bluntly, OpenSocial isn't an anything "killer." And OpenSocial isn't going to save Myspace.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      First, let's define the problem: Facebook is winning the social network wars.

      That's not the problem, IMO, that Google is trying to address with OpenSocial. It may be the problem that MySpace is trying to address with its participation in OpenSocial.

      As more people join Facebook, switching costs get lower, leading to a cascade effect. In terms of the diffusion of innovations curve, Facebook is now being heavily adopted by the "Early Majority", indicating they've got a good one or two years left of substantial

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Orkut is trivial compared to any of the big networks
        FWIW, there's a reason that Google is deciding to build a new social networking application in addition to Orkut. Orkut has been largely abandoned in the US, but it is huge in Brazil (and I believe Russia, but I could be wrong). None of the "big" networks are even close to Orkut in the countries where Orkut is popular. It may be a joke among USians, but Google considers Orkut to be very successful.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Facebook also has a huge group of women that like to display their pictures taken when they are drunk and half undressed.

      Facebook for the win!!!!
    • by s1d (1185389) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @03:58PM (#21259091) Homepage Journal
      Hmm. This is beyond Facebook vs Myspace.
      All Facebook fanboys seem to forget that its only big in US, and there too not the biggest yet (may get there, but who's seen the future!). For people in India, where I'm from, Orkut is the default social network. Everybody's there. 10 year old kids, 60 year old grand dads, but not to forget, India's teeming youth. Almost everyone from my school, university, work etc. Everyone! OpenSocial wasn't built to save Myspace. It was built to serve as a common API to developers to develop apps for all social network.
      Apps on Facebook are very cool, but with the barrage of apps which have come up, it has totally screwed up their UI. It takes a newcomer a little while to find his bearings there. And even for experienced users, the app spam is becoming too much. Then you have profiles where a user has added dozens of apps, making it pretty much like a highly jumbled up myspace page, though without the graphic stuff.
      Facebook has been going great guns so far, but they now have a very credible opponent. And it shall make for very interesting following.
      As a passing note, check out this community for opensocial developers/users.
      http://www.opensocializr.com/ [opensocializr.com]
      • by Doug Neal (195160)
        Facebook is also huge in the UK, especially in London. Everyone is on it here. The London network on Facebook is also the biggest one (according to Wikipedia) with 1,646,154 users, Toronto is second with 936,969.
        • Facebook is also huge in the UK, especially in London. Everyone is on it here. The London network on Facebook is also the biggest one (according to Wikipedia) with 1,646,154 users, Toronto is second with 936,969.

          facebook is also very popular in turkey right now. i'm married to a turk and all of her friends are one it and more join constantly. anything to get people away from myspace is a good thing. myspace is the highest concentration of awful design in the universe.

      • by MatB (845512)

        Then you have profiles where a user has added dozens of apps, making it pretty much like a highly jumbled up myspace page

        So much so that I've got into the habit of clicking the top bar of pretty much every app to minimise them when I look at profiles, so that I only have to see the stuff I want not the crappy meme-style stuff.

        Wasn't aware Orkut was that big in India, I know a few people on Fb from there but my main SN remains LJ, which is mostly the preserve of the goth and the geek in the UK. I agree though, OpenSocial is a step forward in many ways, and we'll just have to see how things pan out.

      • Given its massive population, if everyone in India is on Orkut then it is easily the largest social network in the world. Since it is a very distant 5th or 6th, I'll happily dismiss your comment as a poor generalization of what you see around you.
    • To put it bluntly, OpenSocial isn't an anything "killer." And OpenSocial isn't going to save Myspace.

      Uh nothing can save Myspace. They wrote a piece of shit software that wasn't remade the second they got famous and then got stuck with just tacking on more code and making it an even worse POS. The cool thing about facebook besides being developed better (IMO up until they added those dumb useless apps that do nothing but annoy me) it was closed to college students. People that go to college have someth

  • by Saint Aardvark (159009) * on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:08PM (#21257687) Homepage Journal

    Chromatic points out that the whole problem addressed by Ope\ nSocial's API has already been solved [oreillynet.com]:

    Over the weekend I encountered a dusty old RFC written in 1982 that might solve this persnickety interoperability problem. Jon Posten's Social Messaging Transport Protocol describes a system that relies on the combination of your unique identifier (username) on a social networking site with a unique identifier (domain name) for such site to produce an Internet-wide addressible identifier uniquely identifying, well, you. Given this unique identifier, any conformant messaging system can use this Messaging protocol to send you, well, a message.

    Honestly, I can't understand why Google et al. would ignore this work. If only there were some way of contacting them...

    • Unlike e-mail, social networking sites are built from the ground up to have features like whitelisting and identity verification. They are also controlled by real entities that have the power to ban spammers and others that abuse the system. Quite surprisingly, these sites actually turn out to have real technical advantages over e-mail.

      Of course, with things like PGP, e-mail can be extended to be a far better messaging system than social networking sites, and you get privacy, too. If only it were "cool" to
    • by chromatic (9471)

      Did I really misspell Jon Postel's name? Ugh.

  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:18PM (#21257793)
    Who the hell really cares what way the social net wars go? Maybe if you're an active developer I can see it but otherwise it's like arguing over superman versus batman.

    This kind of bickering will hopefully turn some people against social networks and get some kids back to doing their own pages again instead of using lame ass templates.
    • I beg to differ. (Score:2, Informative)

      by geoffrobinson (109879)
      Batman. Obviously.
    • by schmidt349 (690948) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:25PM (#21257881)
      Are you fscking kidding me? Maybe the best thing about Facebook is that it gives the user zero control over their profile's HTML.

      Unless you're a kick-ass programmer _and_ kick-ass designer, the probability that you can produce anything that looks better than Facebook's "lame ass templates" is 1/aleph one.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      One item that's dissonant is that things like API's are usually targetted at the geeky/nerdy/early adopter crowd. However, the population of myspace and facebook appears to be socially normal teenagers, and they seem genuinely more interested in their friends than in the technology to access their friends.

      If people start using an API to target ads or spy on them or maniplate friend counts, the cuteness is gone and these normal non-geeky people will get bored/annoyed and move on to the next social fad.
    • Where everyone was making GeoCities, AngelFire and etc.. personal websites and linking back too all of their friends. You'd see people who had very little computer knowledge picking up basic html and marking up pages. Yes they were ugly but people learned new skills. You also saw quite a bit more personal and in depth content. This would have survived if it wasn't for god man pop up and under windows clogging peopled computer screens. Eventually the amount of forced advertising made it next to impossible to
      • Yeah, this is what I'm talking about.

        Scoff if you will but I think in future years we're going to see more and more developers and such who get interview on Slashdot or elsewhere that their first dabbling in (*cough*) "code" (*cough*) was GeoCities and the like.

        As much as some of us laughed about it back than (myself included) it's a damn sight more interesting and educational in comparison to MySpace.
        • by MatB (845512)
          Except...

          I loath MySpace with a passion. But in order to personalise it you have to embed code. Sure, a lot of people are going and grabbing templates, but some of them will tweak and play, and others will go look for something better--I've seen some really nice MS profiles around. OK, the ugly ones outnumber them 100:1, but still, they're there.

          The real regret is that the winning SN currently does appear to be Fb, which means people aren't learning any code. I learnt HTML on Geocities, and CSS on B
      • Sites like GeoCities and Angelfire, and how they were used in the "old skool days" are different than the social networking sites today. GC provided a platform for users to do anything. So, you had a huge mish-mash of random personal websites (what we'd call blogs and social networking sites today) and of actual, real content (guides to your favorite comic, cooking tips, video game info, whatever).

        For those who merely want to be able to have a public diary or a forum where they can communicate with their fr
        • by kv9 (697238)

          For those who merely want to be able to have a public diary or a forum where they can communicate with their friends, I think it's a good thing that we have sites like Facebook which provide all of the basic tools. It's certainly much more usable to my friends who I still want to keep in touch with, but aren't computer savvy at all.

          I think this is a tired argument. what, these people don't have email or a phone? social networks are for attention whores and you know it. anything else is just an excuse.

          • by jchenx (267053)

            I think this is a tired argument. what, these people don't have email or a phone? social networks are for attention whores and you know it. anything else is just an excuse.

            I know you're just a troll, but I'll bite anyway.

            Do you know the e-mail addresses or cell phone numbers of all your friends from high school, many of which you've lost touch with over the years? I doubt it. Much of that data would be normally impossible to find as well, especially if those friends aren't Net savvy (don't have their own we

            • by kv9 (697238)

              I know you're just a troll, but I'll bite anyway.

              I am not a troll. I am just expressing my opinion. that's what I think, and you are free to disagree.

              Do you know the e-mail addresses or cell phone numbers of all your friends from high school, many of which you've lost touch with over the years?

              friends? you bet. I have kept in touch with my friends from highschool. acquaintances? nope. if they'd be my friends I wouldn't have to track them down.

              There are plenty of other benefits to social networks that go beyond e-mail and phone.

              such as?

              Frankly, I'm surprised that a lot of Slashdotters (like yourself) are so anti-social networks. Luddites I say!

              slashdotters with low and lowish UIDs keep dissapointing me too. but what can you do, right?

              • friends? you bet. I have kept in touch with my friends from highschool. acquaintances? nope. if they'd be my friends I wouldn't have to track them down.

                For me and many others (and possibly you as well), there's certainly a number of friends that I have lost track of. Sure, maybe I would consider them more acquaintances than anything, but I still find it interesting to have a way to keep up with them or find them. There are plenty of "acquaitances" that have developed into more deeper friendships, that you m

                • by kv9 (697238)

                  Yet something like Facebook allows for lighter interaction (pokes/prods/nudges/writing on walls), as well as being able to lurk and view their visible profile/photos/etc.

                  oh, OK I get it. this is the "social" aspect. one bigass circle jerk for drama seeking attention whores.

                  Your attitude almost reminds me of folks who were nay sayers on cell phones, or heck, even e-mail: "What's wrong with just calling people? Who needs this newfangled e-mail thing?"

                  here's where youre wrong. cells and email have their actual use. social networks are just a fad. like HTML email: stupid. it surprises me to see this kind of shit praised here. news for nerds? stuff that matters for pimply 14 year olds.

                  • by jchenx (267053)
                    See, you are a troll! Ironically, you even act like a pimply 14 year old! Congratulations! Hope you hit puberty soon. ;)
    • This isn't about one social network winning over any other, although I can imagine such a thing might matter to people who have invested a lot of time into building up friends and a profile on one network.

      It seems to me that this is becoming a sort of cold war between Microsoft and Google. Google's main business and source of revenue is advertising, while Microsoft's is Windows and Office, and neither company has much if any presence in the other's main business. They've made it clear they don't care for ea
    • This kind of bickering will hopefully turn some people against social networks and get some kids back to doing their own pages again instead of using lame ass templates.

      I thought the whole idea was to build APIs that would tie into social networks. This should allow people to build their own sites/blogs/whatever, using any combination of custom/template/third-party widgets. How is giving people more options a bad thing? It seems to me this will open up social networks, moving them away from the gated co

    • This is right up there in importance with Jay Leno's script writers being on strike.
      They care, I don't.
  • I'm so glad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:29PM (#21257937) Journal
    ...that I have nothing to do with the universe of social sites and such. From the sound of it all, I am missing nothing at all, eccept an opportunity to waste precious time.

    Oh, yeah, slashdot....
    • Well, I've used Facebook to reconnect with about 40 people I haven't seen for at least three years. I don't like the app spam, "Pirate vs. Ninjas", "Advanced Wall", random meeting part of it that some people do (although there are several apps that I use, most of which I don't put on my actual profile), but it very often provides the answer to "Whatever happened to that guy?" It's also well equipped for sending out invites for parties and other gatherings, as you don't have to call/text everybody.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So the first OpenSocial app that someone rushed out the door ASAP to be the first, as opposed to it being a professional tech demo, was made by somebody stupid when it comes to security (aka 99% of developers). So what?
  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow,wrought&gmail,com> on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:40PM (#21258077) Homepage Journal
    The generation of youngsters that is pushing these Social Networks into prominence have the attention span of a crack-addled butterfly. They will flit about and land on the next thing soon enough, and then, after they are done with it, the corporations will notice and will invest in it a couple of years after its lost its prominence. Ask a teen. Any teen.
    • by Huntr (951770)
      I agree. I don't even think you need to ask a teen to know this is true.

      Remember all the dumb shit you did when you were a teenager? Me neither.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      I'm sorry, but where did you get the idea that, say, Facebook, is being frequented by teens? Last I'd heard, it's primary demographic was 18-35 year old university grads, for the most part.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        I'm sorry, but where did you get the idea that, say, Facebook, is being frequented by teens? Last I'd heard, it's primary demographic was 18-35 year old university grads, for the most part.

        ... trolling for teens.

    • by SashaMan (263632)
      Was this modded insightful by mods with no friends? I'm 31, and I've found facebook very useful in getting in touch with old friends. Sure, is has its silly vampire apps and such, but as far as just being able to share photos and hear what people are up to with status updates, it's very useful.

      Also, who do you think the 15 million linkedin users are, teenagers?
    • Seems no one remembers Open Diary or Live Journal. Teens are NOT in any way loyal to any social networking site.
    • by Tim C (15259)
      Teens may have pushed social networking sites to prominence, but there's an awful lot of us 30-somethings using them too now. In fact most of the people I know, the youngest of which is 27, have Facebook accounts.

      Of course, depending on your age we may still qualify as youngsters to you ;)
    • by dscruggs (858714)

      The generation of youngsters that is pushing these Social Networks into prominence have the attention span of a crack-addled butterfly. They will flit about and land on the next thing soon enough, and then, after they are done with it, the corporations will notice and will invest in it a couple of years after its lost its prominence. Ask a teen. Any teen.

      Herewith the 1995 version, from my boss back then:

      The generation of youngsters that is pushing this Internet thing into prominence have the attention s

  • by agentultra (1090039) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:48PM (#21258203)

    I don't understand why any tech-savvy early adopter would be dying to lock into a platform. The companies are just as hungry for users to use their platform. I'm guessing it's all to lock in ad-revenue or mind-share or some other sinister corporate plan. It's too bad that the Internet used to be about open-communication. RFC's people! RFC's!! (I'm a big fan of the mention another poster made to the "dusty old RFC" that already solved this problem back in the 80's).

    Social networking is dangerous to personal security. It's more about who you know, and sometimes we get involved with scrupulous parties that are not in-favor with the current dominant social circles. How long until creditors, government agencies, and employers exploit social networks online?

    If one wishes to maintain a public network and a private one, that's there prerogative and is certainly maintainable. However, imagine a hypothetical situation where someone in that network gets flagged as a bad-apple by some institution. Would it be possible that policies at said institution may flag you as a bad-apple by association?

  • by Joebert (946227) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @02:53PM (#21258261) Homepage

    // TODO: no error checking - were bold // TODO: figure out why this is necessary???


    I nominate thoat for funniest comment by a "programmer" of the year.
  • Advertisers battling to the death?

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/02/ok-heres-at-least-part-of-what-facebook-is-announcing-on-tuesday/ [techcrunch.com]

    Looks like there's gonna be a Face-On/Face-Off...

  • Google releases open social without a RI for the server, promising one *any day now*. In the meantime, they're also proposing all sorts of new data standards and pushing a creaky technology to the limit.

    Oh, and they're easy to hack.

    Of who am I reminded?

    (*Apologies to Flannery O'Connor.)
  • But is there any real profit to be in social networks? I mean it's nice to have a basic 'conduit' to meet up with people online, but when I was a teenager, that was what IRC was for. For others it's Ventrilo or Steam Community. In the end, I see it as an application layer set atop the inherent power of the Internet, which is to connect random people with little effort (little effort in as much as without physical travel and what not for said random people), thus it doesn't give anything new in itself rather
  • I've had it. I'm completely sick of hearing about companies throwing good money away trying to build "cool" software that has no business model other than "become popular and then sell ads", and at the end of the day really accomplishes nothing more than marginally improving geeks' chances of getting laid. Have we learned nothing from the dotcom era? These companies are blinded by the promise of harnessing the hype rampant on sites like slashdot. Yes, they're idiots, but we're enabling them.

    Google is ab
  • ...now with these 'social' networks, a kind might sit behind a computer all day and still be considered social.

    It's a change with fundamental consequences for society...
  • A certain large company from R*dm*nd is feuding with another company, and security has become an issue?

    The X-Files writers could NEVER have dreamed that one up!

    -jn-

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