So I’m about a week behind writing about this although I’ve had a number of interesting email discussions. Google’s OpenSocial API is their attempt to drive a common interface between numerous social platforms. James comments:
Fundamentally I think the benefit of someone like Google kicking off OpenSocial is a good thing – we can see this in the momentum that has gathered so quickly around it. But the concept of People, Activities and Persistence is simply enough that it can be replicated and for me the enterprise social networking story that plays out behind it will mean Google can’t completely dominate it
Many companies can see the potential benefits of having their employees tied together through a social network. It could help encourage productive collaboration without requiring big investments in complicated and expensive knowledge-management systems, which rarely work. But companies, particularly large ones, are antsy about putting sensitive corporate and personal information into an open social network like Facebook – not only because of security concerns but also because of lock-in fears.
Programmatically the concept is great, a reduction in the number of APIs will improve the number of social tools linked by applications – some will be useful some dreadful. In terms of the enterprise my position is to take a watching brief. We have already seen some security concerns. I’d be interested to see if any larger players in enterprise collaboration join the list, which presently includes:
Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.
Given that IBM are warming to Google and recently announced a joint cloud computing solution for students and acedemia could we see IBM entering the fray? Connections would seem an obvious candidate to allow organisations to federate data with other social sotfware tools (LinkedIn etc.) or SaaS tools (salesforce.com). Like I said time for a watching brief.