LinkedIn Joins Google OpenSocial API Initiative

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opensocialpartners.jpgI wrote book in June about LinkedIn’s API announcement, ostensibly for them to compete with Facebook’s expansion into the business networking market. Since that announcement, though, LinkedIn has been pretty quiet about the whole thing.

That all changed yesterday with the announcement from Google of the launch of their OpenSocial platform, a standard set of APIs that will allow developers to create applications that can run in any social platform that adheres to the API. Initial partners include LinkedIn, Ning, Plaxo, hi5, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch explains:

OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:

  • Profile Information (user data)
  • Friends Information (social graph)
  • Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)

Hosts agree to accept the API calls and return appropriate data. Google won’t try to provide universal API coverage for special use cases, instead focusing on the most common uses. Specialized functions/data can be accessed from the hosts directly via their own APIs.

There’s additional technical information from Marc Andreessen of Ning, and Danny Sullivan offers further explanation at Search Engine Land, with pictures for all you visual learners:

opensocialillustration.jpg

So what does this mean in practical terms for LinkedIn users?

Within a few months, expect to start being able to do things like:

  • Display your blog headlines on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Import your LinkedIn profile into Ning with a single mouse click.
  • Synchronize your contact list across all participating networks.
  • Perform a search on LinkedIn and tell it to search Friendster and Plaxo Pulse as well.

Sound cool? I think so.

So if you let your imagination run wild, what kind of applications would you like to see come out of this? What would make you say “Wow”?

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3 Comments

  1. This is great. Now all my sites can be combined easier and joining another partner site will be simple. Plus, we can search for more friends on more networks all at once.

  2. I really am looking forward to the changes. So many of the tools are complimentary and integrated their functionality would make them much easier to use. To be able to sync addresses between Gmail and LinkedIn or tie your blog to LinkedIn will be great integration features.

  3. I’d love it if Linked in could extend their functionality so that it could not only view blog post headlines but spider recent posts by their members. A single search could pull up contacts who are currently working in a field I’m researching or looking for expertise in.

    Even better if they could allow ‘invite blog posters on this topic to answer’ within answers (maybe prompt for a keyword phrase when you put in the question to narrow it) – so you’re asking more than just your immediate network.

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