I just got back from Google’s Campfire One event, where they officially launched the OpenSocial project. As long-time advocates of the Open Social Web, we’re thrilled that Google is leading this initiative, and even more thrilled that it’s been received so positively! This is a huge deal, and it’s perfectly aligned with our vision of empowering users to regain control of their social data across all the tools they use.
To keep the momentum going, we’ve been working hard to implement the OpenSocial APIs in Plaxo Pulse, and in fact we’ve just released it into production, making it the first live OpenSocial implementation in the wild. So if you’d like to play around with open social gadgets or develop one yourself, there’s no need to wait any longer!
Now, if you’ve looked closely at the details of OpenSocial, you know it’s still a work in progress. The APIs are only at version 0.5 and they’re still changing almost daily. So expect a bit of a bumpy road for the next few weeks, and be aware that things may break along the way. But we’ll do our best to keep things running smoothly and keep up with the changes as the specs continue to develop. [One quick note: for now we're only allowing specific apps from known developers that we've white-listed to run in Pulse. Email us at OpenSocial@plaxo.com if you want to get your app white-listed, and as the APIs and security models get more fleshed out, we'll ease off these temporary restrictions.]
We’re releasing support for OpenSocial now because we want to make sure that everyone who’s getting excited about it has a place they can channel their energy and get things running sooner. To that end, we’ve done our best to comprehensively support the existing OpenSocial APIs and integrate them richly within the Pulse experience. Specifically:
- users can add now add gadgets to their Pulse profiles (click on My Profile at the top of Pulse and then Applications on the left side)
- each gadget also has a full canvas page inside Pulse
- we support complete profile and contact info for the profile and friends-list APIs
- we support storing gadget prefs via the people data APIs
- gadgets can create activity streams and publish activity data, which will show up in the normal Pulse stream (alongside the existing feeds in pulse) with rich rendering support
- each activity can be commented on like normal feed items in Pulse
In addition, we’ve built OpenSocial gadget support into our new Dynamic Profiles feature, which means just as you can now show a separate profile (photo, bio, contact info, interests, etc.) to your business contacts and your friends, you can also add gadgets separately to your professional and personal profiles, and also control which sets of contacts see the activity streams from those gadgets. So if you just want to emote with your friends and not your business colleagues, now you can!
In case you can’t tell, we’re really excited to see the social web continuing to open up, and you can bet that we’ll continue to push for even greater control, portability, and integration across all the sites and services you use. This is a major step forward, and there is plenty more to look forward to soon!
PS: To celebrate the launch of OpenSocial in Plaxo Pulse and to demo it to anyone that’s interested, we’re having an OpenSocial “Open Social” at Plaxo on Friday afternoon at 4pm in our office, and everyone’s invited. Get all the details on upcoming (and don’t forget to add the upcoming feed to your pulse stream so your friends can see you’re coming! ).
–Joseph Smarr, Chief Platform Architect