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Yahoo Backs OpenSocial; New Foundation Formed

Yahoo announced Tuesday that it's joined forces with Google and MySpace to back OpenSocial, a group that aims to define a common API to allow social applications across multiple sites.

Google, Yahoo and MySpace are also creating a nonprofit foundation to "foster the continued open development of OpenSocial."

Google debuted OpenSocial in November 2007 and was soon backed by a large number of Web-centric organizations, including Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Oracle and others. MySpace has already started offering OpenSocial applications and, according to Google, hi5 will begin doing so as well as early as next week.

Yahoo, for its part, said it's joining with the effort "to ensure the neutrality and longevity of OpenSocial as an open, community-governed specification for building social applications across the Web."

"Yahoo believes in supporting community-driven industry specifications and expects that OpenSocial will fuel innovation and make the Web more relevant and more enjoyable to millions of users," said Wade Chambers, vice president of platforms for Yahoo, in a statement released yesterday. "Our support builds on similar efforts with the OpenID community and will expand the opportunity for developers and publishers to benefit from an open and increasingly social Web."

In a blog posting related to the announcement, Chambers added, "Industry consortiums such as this often start slowly and evolve over time. So far, OpenSocial is rapidly growing and adapting, but still in the early stages. We feel that this is the right step at this stage in its evolution. It's no longer a trial balloon -- it's for real. We are taking this opportunity to help ensure Web sites and developers feel confident using OpenSocial as the building blocks for their new social apps."

As part of the move, the Yahoo, Google and MySpace have joined with the Web development community to form a nonprofit foundation to promote OpenSocial and oversee its development, and have launched OpenSocial.org to serve as a repository for documentation and other resources.

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

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