November 1, 2007

OpenSocial is now live on Plaxo Pulse

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 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

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  • Chris Messina

    Sooo…. where’re the docs man?! Got a URL somewhere we can look at?
    Oh, and I hope this comment form uses OpenID…! ;)

  • Chris Saad

    Awesome work Joseph – that turnaround time was incredible!
    Are you planning on supporting any other open standards? ;)

  • Joseph Smarr

    @ChrisM: google should be releasing docs tonight or tomorrow morning.
    @ChrisS: we’ll try to support all the open standards we can! The ones you’ll see first are the ones that are simplest (easiest to implement) and provide the most out-of-the-box benefit to our users, as well as those that exemplify the potential of the Open Social Web. Exciting times ahead for sure!

  • Gaurav Kanoongo

    @Joseph Smarr: Congratulations.

  • Mike Hedge

    well done.

  • Nishith Shah is not working

  • Former Plaxo User

    Too bad you can’t turn Pulse off, so you have a choice if you want every contact seeing every piece of information about you. Oh, well, when has Plaxo ever cared about customers and their privacy…

  • Joseph Smarr

    Doh, looks like the OpenSocial@plaxo email wasn’t set up properly last night (hey, it was late, heh!). It’s fixed now, and thanks to everyone that emailed me personally in the meantime. js

  • Joseph Smarr

    @Former-Plaxo-User: I’ve responded to your similar comments elsewhere already, but to clarify once again: you absolutely DO have full control over what you choose to share in Pulse, and you can choose to share nothing if you prefer. Every feed has clear sharing settings next to it, as well as a delete link. Feel free to contact me if you need help finding the right options.
    And I think our many-year pro-active record on creating one of the strongest privacy policies around and always giving our users control and being transparent speaks for itself.

  • Melissa

    @Joseph Smarr: While you can turn it off, I was a little taken aback to log in to plaxo and see all of my information out there without my knowledge. Plaxo should have sent an email about the changes or made it so that you had to activate it before putting all their user’s information out there. Obviously, it can be fixed by turning off each and every one that was already there, but for someone who doesn’t use Plaxo a lot, or doesn’t know of the changes, it makes a lot of information public that they may not want made public like what I Digg, or my Amazon Wish list, etc…

  • Joseph Smarr

    @Melissa-In the earliest versions of Pulse, we automatically shared public content from Flickr and Amazon wish lists, but we very quickly changed that to be more opt-in and privacy protecting. Even though the data *is* public (and discoverable given your email address) on those sites, we agreed that some users might not want this, and certainly one of Plaxo’s core principles is that as a user you choose what info to share with whom. So for the vast majority of users, we’ve never shared anything automatically without them first deciding to share that content and specifically with whom.
    I apologize if you were one of those early users and you didn’t want that public info shared via Plaxo. Cases like that are exactly why we changed the defaults, and this is clearly an area that needs further discussion in general (i.e. how to help users connect and share info seamlessly without it being *too* seamless).
    If you or anyone else has more input on this subject, we’d love to hear it! Thanks, js

  • andy

    Did Google give you this gmail address to send your spam to, from a fake email address yourselves, namely
    Or did you copy it from internet newsgroups?