Facebook has Platform. Google has OpenSocial. Many social networks are choosing to also roll out their own application platform offering.
Oren Michels (Mashery), Seth Sternberg (meebo), Jessica Alter (Bebo), Jeff Roberto (Friendster), Chris Damsen (Netvibes) discussed some of the different social networking platforms.
To add to the competition, Chris, from Netvibes, announced that Netvibes was releasing its platform. Code name Ginger.
We have a lot of competing platforms beyond Facebook and OpenSocial. If you look globally, different platforms have very different penetrations of different geographies. It presents challenges for application developers who must publish on different platforms and opportunities for other developers to make their versions of popular apps for other platforms.
It’s still really early as we are only 8 months into this platform API proliferation, so there is still time to get involved and innovate.
Every platform wants to embrace every application, but also wants to differentiate their APIs to expose unique features of their networks. This makes it tough for developers to really scale across different platforms. Seth, from meebo, talked about how the IM networks have competing standards and how it would be “way” better to have a write once standard for developers and users. The issue is who sets the standard and what risks does this pose for the others.
Jessica, from Bebo, points out that each of these companies would like to have healthy and well developed ecosystem, and that they have different functionality so one standard may not fit across all the networks. Bebo which has embraced the Facebook standard as part of it’s API, and it takes a few hours to port a Facebook app to Bebo. To port to Friendster, it could take hours to days.
Question: Most surprising group to join network:
Meebo – Librarians
Bebo – US community very engaged and younger
Friendster – expats moving around the world
Netvibes – well distributed user base
[tags]gspwest08, graphing social, platform wars[/tags]