A few quick thoughts about OpenSocial. As you can see here, outside.in is one of the launch partners for the OpenSocial platform. In fact, our developer Christian Niles was out at the GooglePlex earlier this week for a last minute Hackathon before the announcement. We're going to have much more to say about our OpenSocial application in the coming weeks, but obviously the great promise here lies in combining those two big mega-themes of the past few years: the social graph (as you're now obliged to call it) and the geo-web.
Interestingly, we did not know until a few days ago that the APIs would extend to other social network platforms -- our guess was that it would live inside of Orkut, but that Orkut would become more tightly integrated with other Google applications, like Gmail. Obviously, we're thrilled that the platform is going to be as inclusive as it is. And what a brilliant move by Google. (I suppose as a launch partner, I'm biased, but still: what a brilliant move.) That $15 billion Facebook valuation got a lot of abuse over the past few weeks, but in a way I thought it made sense. Obviously, there was risk involved, but if you thought that Facebook had a reasonable shot at becoming "the social operating system of the Web", then it was probably worth making the bet -- particularly given that Microsoft had other reasons to invest. A company that runs the web's "social operating system" could easily be worth $50B or $100B. But that seems entirely impossible now, just a few days later, thanks to OpenSocial. If there is going to be a social operating system, it's going to be the open one that wins out.
And the open nature of the platform also makes it much harder for Facebook to exploit lock-in, since it will now be much easier for consumers to move over to the next, coolest social networking site. Thus far, the history of social networks sites shows that they are way more vulnerable to the whims of fashion than, say, search engines have been -- no doubt because teenagers and twenty-somethings have been their primary audience. By creating a bigger platform, Facebook was trying to fortify itself against this threat, but OpenSocial will likely accelerate the cycles of social network fashion. Big new networks will pop up every 12 months, instead of every three years.