OpenSocial is a set of programming interfaces for applications in Web-based social networks. OpenSocial is developed by Google and was released on 1 November 2007.

Applications that use the OpenSocial API, are interoperable with any other social network, which also supports this, as functions of sites such as MySpace and Friendster can be linked together. For the launch of OpenSocial only the XING business network and the Invitation and Ticket Service amiando were from Germany with us.

Since December 2009, the OpenSocial API is also supported by StudiVZ, SchülerVZ and MeinVZ.

  • 2.1 Development
  • 2.2 implementations
  • 2.3 background


OpenSocial consists essentially of two parts. For one of the OpenSocial API that provides interfaces for uniform access to the social network. The API itself, in turn consists of three core components.

  • Data allows access and exchange of personal data.
  • People allowed to " view" of the social graph from "view" of a person. Thus, for example, person-specific relationships (so-called Relationships ) can query.
  • Activities for the text-based communication between people

Secondly, there is the so-called OpenSocial from the OpenSocial gadgets related content from the social network via the OpenSocial API and describe how to display them from the web browser and to manage. Technologically considered OpenSocial gadgets based on Google Gadgets and expand it. Around non- proprietary interfaces to access the OpenSocial API using JavaScript functions or the OpenSocial REST protocol In principle there are gadgets from an XML backbone structure HTML text, JavaScript code, and any CSS references encapsulates.

Both components together enable a simpler, unified and interoperable way to develop applications in the context of social networking, so-called social apps. OpenSocial applications should therefore replace the previously developed proprietary solutions.

OpenSocial applications

The development of OpenSocial applications by means of open standards such as HTML, XML and JavaScript. All OpenSocial applications require a so-called container for their execution and display. This serves the applications as a kind of runtime environment, which integrates the OpenSocial API. There are basically three types ( so-called Social Design Patterns ) distinction of applications.

OpenSocial applications of this type are designed to be extremely narrow and combine only the contents and functions from other applications via RSS or Ajax. The execution takes place within the social network, with no external server is needed as a container. The advantage consists in the good scalability with respect to the resources and their limited availability, however, must always be taken into account. For the development of social mashups can ( combined) HTML, JavaScript, CSS, OpenSocial Templates and Flash can be used.

Applications of this type can be a very rich functionality make available and are hosted in contrast to the Social Mashups on an external server, which is responsible as a container for the processing and rendering of the data. Such a server project was developed and promoted by the Apache Software Foundation with the name shindig. The disadvantage of such a Social Application is the poor scalability with respect to the resources, since large popularity of the application, the capacity limits of the server can be reached quickly ( not least because of the functionality ). Can be realized, a social application through a variety of ways, including HTML, JavaScript, CSS, OpenSocial Templates, Flash, PHP, Python, Java, Perl,. NET or Ruby.

These applications run outside of the social network. Nevertheless, both labeled "social " because they relate data from social networks through the Open Social API using the REST or RPC API. The user gives using OAuth direct access to its data.

OpenSocial REST protocol

The OpenSocial REST protocol is designed for communication between servers and enables the exchange of personal data, relationship information and activities between OpenSocial hosts or containers. An example is OpenSocial applications that are no longer run as gadgets but the server side and access eg using JSP or ASP via the REST protocol to data of OpenSocial container. This product allows a person to realize the content "custom" applications. In addition, developers benefit from a variety of existing Client Utility libraries of the most popular server-side languages ​​such as Java, PHP or Ruby, which are provided by the REST API.



Reportedly behind the Open Social Web developer Brad Fitzpatrick, founder of LiveJournal. After he sold the company Danga Interactive, which operates LiveJournal, Six Apart in 2005, developed Fitzpatrick OpenID. In 2007, Fitzpatrick left Six Apart, to continue working on the integration of social networks for Google.

Rumored OpenSocial is a part of a larger project on the topic of Google's social networking called " Makamaka " what " with which one is in the free exchange close friend " means hawaiian.


Currently, there are about 20 containers that integrate OpenSocial. Due to the popularity of social networks is to be expected with an increasing number. A current list of available implementations, and the OpenSocial release is used in each case among themselves. In addition to familiar products such as MySpace, LinkedIn or XING for users, even some containers exist specifically for developers and their needs.


OpenSocial is called as a platform- independent alternative to Facebook.

After Facebook started in May 2007 to publish interfaces and to allow that third parties write applications for Facebook, Facebook was seen as a challenger to Google, a universal " web operating system " to establish.