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OpenSocial 0.7: Getting Closer to Facebook, Feature by Feature

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And OpenSocial 0.7 hits the door. Too sad I don’t have John Battelle’s balls to write down and publish predictions, otherwise I could be bragging about having expected “a serious version not until the end of January”, as I suggested to a few colleagues. :-P

Taking off the bugfixes, I would like to emphasize the following features (condensed from the release notes):

* Standardized profile information fields. (…) standard fields that you can access about a Person (…) include location, schools, pets, movies, sports, and more.(…)

  • Support for viral growth. (…) You can invite a user’s friends to install your application (…) You can also send an application-specific message (…)
Those were absolute show-stoppers when comparing OpenSocial to FaceBook – not the only ones, but the most visible. I did not check (yet) how well implemented they are, but at least now they exist – and that makes 0.7 the most important milestone since the public announcement of OpenSocial.

At the same time of this release, Google announces an important step for content container and app developers: the Google Gadgets specification (already used by Orkut and several other containers), which was not per se part of OpenSocial, will have a reference application handed over to Apache. This clarifies one big source of confusion, signaling the developers with more effective universality for apps developed for the platform.