The OpenSocial approach to defining social software standards has the backing of Jive, IBM, and others—and the scorn of upstarts like Yammer.
For enterprise social software vendors including IBM and Jive Software, OpenSocial is a key standard for adding social context to applications. But there is another school of thought.
“OpenSocial is what Google created for MySpace,” Yammer CTO and co-founder Adam Pisoni told me dismissively during an interview about Yammer news feed integration with other cloud services. That’s a reference to the origins of the standard, initially published in 2007, back when MySpace was still bigger than Facebook. Since then, of course, MySpace has faded and Google has struggled through multiple social media flops until catching fire, just recently with Google+. OpenSocial provided the basis for the Google Gadgets user interface components used in iGoogle and played a role in Orkut (the “big in Brazil” social network).
By making the association with MySpace, Pisoni was classifying OpenSocial as a technology whose time has passed. Why would you want to associate yourself with that, rather than model your social software after Facebook? Yammer has defined enterprise extensions to the Open Graph Protocol as the core of its integration strategy. The Open Graph Protocol is an open metadata standard that Facebook application partners can implement to define how articles and other content shared by members are represented in the Facebook news stream. Enterprise vendors can take advantage of it in the same way, extending it as necessary to reference invoices and requisitions rather than (or in addition to) articles and videos.