Father of Web 2.0 denounces Google's OpenSocial

Father of Web 2.0 denounces Google's OpenSocial

Lack of data sharing causes platform to miss the mark

Tim O'Reilly, the father of the term Web2.0, has denounced Google's OpenSocial as a "full blown disappointment" and "boring".

OpenSocial offers a standard for applications on online social networks that allow developers to market their applications on any network supporting the standard. Early supporters include Plaxo, LinkedIn, Myspace and Google's Orkut.

The standard however does not unlock data from the participating network, which for instance could have allowed a Myspace user to exchange messages with somebody on LinkedIn. The service also won't allow for social search engines that let users search for friends across all networks.

In a posting on a company blog, O'Reilly called the lack of data sharing a "fundamental failure to understand two key principles of Web 2.0", those two fundaments being open data and loosly coupled applications or services.

"If all OpenSocial does is allow developers to port their applications more easily from one social network to another, that's a big win for the developer, as they get to shop their application to users of every participating social network."

"But it provides little incremental value to the user, the real target. We don't want to have the same application on multiple social networks. We want applications that can use data from multiple social networks."

O'Reilly heads up O'Reilly Media, a well known publisher of books for developers. He is also credited with coining the term Web2.0. Originally used for a conference on new media that started in 2004, the moniker today is used and abused by online services such as mashups and Digg.com.

O'Reilly pointed out that Google maps has been a token example of Web2.0 because it allowed developers to embed the maps on their own website and combine it with data from outside sources.

If Google however would have taken the approach from OpenSocial with Google maps, it would have created a service that allowed developers to create mapping applications across Microsoft, Yahoo and Google.

O'Reilly summarized such a service as "boring".

A reader commenting on O'Reilly's rant pointed out that Google plans to release an addition to the service dubbed the People Data Application Program Interface (API). Although it isn’t clear what the API exactly would enable.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.