Google sets its eyes on social networking with OpenSocial

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Google Inc. has released a new social platform, called OpenSocial, which gives Web site developers a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to add social features to Web sites, regardless of the site. This provides a centralized tool set that eases development and distribution across the Internet.

This follows the news that social network Facebook plans expansion of its ad products. Unlike Facebook's APIs, which are specific to its network, Google is providing the widgets to any social network.

"There's a lot of innovation that will be spurred simply by creating a standard way for developers to run social applications in more places," said Jeff Huber, SVP of engineering at Google, in a press release.

MySpace, LinkedIn, Bebo Salesforce.com and Engage.com
have all committed to using OpenSocial. Facebook has not released information on whether it will join or not.

Flixster, FotoFlexer, iLike, RockYou, Slide, Theikos, and VirtualTourist have already built applications that use the OpenSocial APIs.

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