Father of web 2.0 slams Google OpenSocial

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Father of web 2.0 slams Google OpenSocial

Tim O'Reilly, the father of the term 'web 2.0', has denounced Google's OpenSocial as "boring" and a "full blown disappointment"..

OpenSocial offers a standard for applications on social networks that allow developers to market applications on any network supporting the standard. Early supporters include Plaxo, LinkedIn, MySpace and Google's Orkut.

The standard does not unlock data from the participating network, however, which might have allowed a MySpace user to exchange messages with a LinkedIn user, for example.

The service also will not allow the use of social search engines that let users locate friends across all networks.

In a posting on a company blog, O'Reilly described the lack of data sharing as a "fundamental failure " to understand two key principles of web 2.0: open data and loosely coupled applications or services.

"If all OpenSocial does is allow developers to port their applications more easily from one social network to another, that's a big win for the developer as they get to shop their application to users of every participating social network," wrote O'Reilly.

"But it provides little incremental value to the user [who is] the real target. We do not want to have the same application on multiple social networks. We want applications that can use data from multiple social networks."

O'Reilly heads up O'Reilly Media, a well known publisher of books for developers. He is also credited with coining the term 'web 2.0'.

Originally used during a conference on new media in 2004, the term is used and abused by online services such as mashups and Digg.

O'Reilly pointed out that Google Maps has been a token example of web 2.0 because it allowed developers to embed the maps on their own website and combine them with data from outside sources.

If Google had taken the OpenSocial approach with Google Maps, it would have created a service that allowed developers to create mapping applications across Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. O'Reilly summarised such a service as "boring".

A reader commenting on O'Reilly's rant pointed out that Google plans to release an addition to the service dubbed the People Data API, although it is not clear exactly what the API would enable.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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