OExchange, a simple specification for URL-based content sharing on the Web, was introduced today by a number of online service providers and social networks. The open link-sharing protocol has gained support from Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Digg, Instapaper, StumbleUpon, Clearspring Technologies and a handful more.
So what’s it all about?
OExchange essentially establishes a common way for services like Posterous and Google Buzz to receive content. The protocol defines how third-party tools, e.g. Clearspring’s bookmarking and sharing service AddThis, can dynamically discover and share content to these services, as well as how sharing tools can read and set a user’s sharing preferences.
A number of these services, like Google Buzz and Instapaper, have already implemented the protocol, which together with others such as OpenID and OAuth intends to making sharing content on the Web completely open. OExchange is licensed under the Open Web Foundation Agreement – you can get the specs here.
Chris Messina, Open Web Advocate at Google, has this to say about the new protocol:
“The key to increasing the amount and quality of sharing online is smoothing out the user interaction. By simplifying the underlying mechanism for cross-site sharing with OExchange, people can focus on what they’re sharing, rather than how.”
Do you agree that there’s a need for an open URL sharing protocol (which companies like Twitter and Facebook seem to doubt, since they’re not supporting it)?