Google hits back with MySpace

20071105_googlemyspaceJust as I thought after doing my last blog on Microsoft deal with Facebook, I was so sure that Google won’t let it go so easy. Soon after the Facebook and the Microsoft deal, Google hits back by providing an open source platform community to Internet social networking leader MySpace and Bebo, a move that may undermine the rapid growth of their common rival, Facebook. Google announced the coup two days after revealing its plans to create a distribution network for open source web applications, known as widgets or web apps. Widgets make it easier to share music, pictures, video and other personal interests on social networking sites
We all knew Google will surely brew some kind of response to the Facebook and Microsoft deal just took place few weeks back. So here’s the thing.

Google lined up Bebo for the UK, MySpace for the UK and Friendster for Asia. That’s the social network API audience sewn up. Developers all over the world can now build widgets from the annoying (vampire battles and food fights) to the very functional (video players and photo galleries) that will work across all these sites with only minor tweakage.

Why did Myspace join Google’s OpenSocial?

With so much competition and so many new platforms opening everyday, limited resources is the major problem faced by most of the app developers these days. There are ample amount of opportunities but not enough people to pursue them all.

But i think MySpace is in itself big enough to require any platform, so why did they join?

It all comes down to competition for app developer’s time and resources. In the last few months since Facebook opened its own platform, a lot of competitors including MySpace have seen its lead fading. Facebook started winning more users day after day, and share more user time, because app developers were adding new features to the Facebook experience much faster than Myspace could do on its own.

If Myspace had stayed out of Open Social, there would have been three platforms competing for developer time. By joining, there are now only two and one (Open Social) provides potential access to far more users than the other. More developer time would be spent on Open Social, and MySpace would benefit more from the improved rate of innovation.

MySpace also knows that it can win more developer mindshare relative to other participants in Open Social if they help the developers make more money. It has a better developed sales force and ad network than many of the other participants, and if it opens up access to that sales force to app developers, then you’ll see even more developers focusing even more of their time on Myspace (at the expense of Facebook and the other Open Social participants). If they were to go so far as to guarantee a minimum CPM for “canvas pages” on Myspace, then they’d see a surge of developer interest.

This will require a significant mind shift for Myspace which has traditionally not wanted other companies to monetize page views within Myspace, let alone helping them monetize. If they make the shift, MySpace will not have given anything up by joining Open Social. Rather, they will have gained something. They will be the place that app developers can make the most money, and hence be their first priority. The increased stickiness and loyalty to Myspace will accrue to Myspace alone.

How will this platform help Google

As the most trafficked website in the country and the most popular social network in the world, MySpace is one of the leading forces in the global social Web. Google realises that growing strategic relationship with MySpace and by joining forces can be an important initiative towards more success.

Google goal is to help shape the standards used between developers and social networks. Likely the move came from being shutout from Facebook. Not only did Google not get a piece of the social network, but Facebook uses a proprietary API that requires developers build apps specifically for it–sounds much like cell phone companies, doesn’t it?

So, Google’s OpenSocial will focus on three standard APIs that will act as a conduit to the core data of social networks:
-Profile details
-Friends info
-Activities (the stuff you do)

As per reports from Techcrunch and NYT, initial social network partners signed on include Orkut, LinkedIn, Ning, Plaxo, Friendster, Visdeo, Saleforce, Hi5, Oracle. Application developers inlclude iLike, Flixterm Rock You, Slide.

With Google’s move to become the primary platform for social networking-based applications, however, Microsoft appears to have changed course. Late Thursday came news that MySpace would join Google’s newly announced OpenSocial API platform, handing a huge win to the search giant. Bebo and others like Friendster are also joining Google.

My Suggestion

People dont join social networks (Facebook or MySpace) to add apps to their profiles, and they’re not going to migrate elsewhere for the sake of a different API. No one is going to think, well, my friends are all on Facebook, but Orkut lets me help some third-rate startup monetize its assets by scattering random widgetjunk across my public profile… so it’s Orkut for me!

We have to agree no matter how “open” or “social,” these apps will try to be, I just don’t see them being a selling point for prospective members. However, Google and Facebook should keep in mind that current members may really enjoy these options—and creating passionate users is just as important as converting new ones.

Some Related Articles:

MySpace Google join hands

MySpace joins Google
MySpace and Google join forces
Google and MySpace hit back with OpenSocial
Bebo, MySpace and SixApart to join Google
MySpace and Bebo join Google OpenSocial

  1. Joy Buria on November 6th, 2007 at 09:32 | #1

    Wow, Google cant leave the race so easy. They did it ..MySpace joining Google’s OpenSocial, there is nothing better Google could think of . Man Google rocks !!

  2. Winnie Mahamma on November 6th, 2007 at 09:33 | #2

    Im not to sure if Google’s OpenSocial will be a hit. I agree to what parul said here Google should keep in mind that current members may really enjoy these options—and creating passionate users is jus

  3. Sid on November 7th, 2007 at 09:35 | #3

    OpenSocial is sure going to cause a revolution in the social networking arena. I believe its still in quite a nascent stage, but with so much momentum behind it, it should grow fast

  1. No trackbacks yet.