What’s Google’s OpenSocial Project Mean for Marketers?

Very little, at least not for a long while. The effort will create a set of APIs designed to let application developers work with data and technology from multiple social networking services. Except the ones that won’t play of course — namely Facebook. Some have characterized the move as an attempt to undermine Facebook through an alliance with various second and third tier social nets (update: top social net MySpace is officially in as well) and some application developers (i.e. “ganging up”), a few bloggers have argued it will fail owing to Google’s vested interest in the market and the low audience share of OpenSocial’s early partners.

Should the project succeed, marketers will be able to maintain branded applications on various social networking platforms without employing armies of developers. For now, the vast majority of brands maintaining apps are only concerned with Facebook, and perhaps a little with MySpace. If the much anticipated ascent of vertical social networks materializes, and if those sites join the Open Social effort, then a long tail of social networking could necessitate such a centralized application management system. But in that case marketers would likely create different widgets and applications for each platform/vertical anyway.

So, near-term implication? Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it.

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