Let’s call a spade a spade here. When the third largest social network in the U.S. announces a platform for social applications that mirrors Facebook’s and appeals to Facebook developers, it is a snub to Google. For all the promise of Google’s competing OpenSocial platform (which Bebo is also supporting), it is just not ready yet. Bebo’s embrace of Facebook says a lot about the true state of competition between Google and Facebook. The fact that Bebo will have Facebook apps running on Bebo before OpenSocial apps indicates where its priorities lie.
When OpenSocial launched, we suggested that Facebook might have no choice but to join it as well, given all the initial support from other Websites and application developers that Google was able to muster. But this move suggests otherwise. Facebook is not going to join OpenSocial unless it has to. In fact, Facebook actually helped Bebo with this effort, and for good reason.
How does Facebook crush OpenSocial? By helping to make Facebook applications easily portable to other social networks. It would rather open up its own application platform to other social networks and compete head-to-head with OpenSocial. That’s the game plan. Facebook already has all the developers anyway. This is Facebook’s game to lose. Round Two goes to Facebook. But can it get LinkedIn, Hi5, Friendster, and others—some of whom have opened up their own platforms to outside developers—to also play ball?
(Read our on-the-scene coverage with full details about Bebo’s platform here).
In the next step of opening up Facebook Platform, Facebook is now making its platform architecture available as a model for other social sites. Facebook will even license the Facebook Platform methods and tags for use by other platforms, which means that the 100,000 developers currently building Facebook applications can make their applications available on other social sites with no extra work.
It is mano-a-mano, folks.