It is being reported that Facebook may not be allowed the clout they have been receiving recently after all. Tomorrow, Google will begin heading up an alliance of social networks that will begin opening up their sites to outside software developers. This group will introduce a common set of standards for this practice, according to The New York Times.
The group includes Orkut, LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning. Since it opened its site to outside developers last spring, Facebook has had over 5,000 small programs built to run on its site.
The plan was supposed to be unveiled at a Google party tomorrow night, but people briefed on this, let the New York Times know about it and Google confirmed to the publication.
An anonymous source said to the NY Times “It is going to forestall Facebook’s ability to get everyone writing just for Facebook.” OpenSocial as the platform will be known is “compatible across all the companies,” according to that same source.
The group will also include software makers Oracle and Salesforce.com. The aim is to expand the spectrum of social networks for developers so as Facebook does not hold a monopoly over this market, however for the time being it remains the platform of choice for developers and U.S. users.
Site in the alliance have a combined 100 million users, the report continues, which is over twice as many users as Facebook. Expected at the event at the Google headquarters are the developers of popular Facebook apps like Slide, iLike, Frixter and RockYou.
Eric E. Schmidt, CEO of Google was quoted in the NY Times to say “One of the things to say, very clearly, is that social networks as a phenomenon are very real. If you are of a certain age, you sort of dismiss this as college kids or teenagers. But it is very real.”
Google has ad deals with many social networks, as well as a $900 million deal to sell ads on MySpace. There is also money coming Google’s way through ads running on Facebook apps. This step towards dethroning Facebook, so to speak, is just more proof in the power behind the social network and social networking features. It is undeniable that we are in the age of the social network.