As more websites are increasingly becoming more social and adopting web 2.0 technologies, what will happen next? Currently, most of the websites that offer these technologies exist in silos. For example, users may have friends on separate social and business networks. I have friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, and StumpleUpon. I need to login to each of those websites to connect with different friends. What if I was able to engage with my friends anywhere on the web?
Yesterday, I had discussed about the usage of web 2.0 tools on the internet. Today, I will discuss the future of social networks and the usage web 2.0 tools.
Wharton school of business interviews Joe Kraus, director of product management at Google. This fascinating interview discusses how Google has developed a solution to enabling the web to become more social. There are two pieces to the solution:
The first piece is called OpenSocial, which is an open-source API for social applications across multiple websites. Many of the social websites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that I described in my above example, have their own API platforms, and similar to Google OpenSocial all are open source development. Google is striving to make OpenSocial the common API that can be utilized by most sites.
The second piece is called FriendConnect, which allows website administrators to utilize the gadgets made from the OpenSocial developer community. The user can collaborate, share and engage with friends on whatever website they choose, as long as the website utilizes the FriendConnect tool. The web user goes to any website that has the FriendConnect tool, logs in, and can select from his/her friends from a list that draws from the user’s network from social sites (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The web user can invite these friends to participate in discussions, ratings, and other interactions on this website. This is already somewhat similar with online communities, which on many websites, people do not know each other but share mutual interests. Being able to combine existing social networks with online communites is key. The web will become more social by users being able to connect with their friends at anywhere and at anytime. The benefits from this application include: increasing web site traffic, being able to engage with the customers, customers are able to engage with their friends, and their friends are able to learn about the website.
So why is Google so interested in developing these two applications?
Google’s interest in these applications is to make the web better for both developers and users. This will engage more people on the web, which in turn, makes the search engine more widely used.
Please see the below video for more information regarding the FriendConnect application: