Social network Hi5, founded in the San Francisco Bay Area but most influential in Latin America, announced Monday that the application program interface (API) for its developer platform is now live. This means that, as with other social networks that have opened up their code, third-party developers can create applications for the site.
More than 7,700 developers and development companies have already signed on to create apps for Hi5, which has 80 million registered users. (Note that the 80 million refers to total user accounts, not necessarily active ones.)
Hi5's platform is compatible with the OpenSocial standard initiated by Google, which means that many applications created for Hi5 will need little or no modification for use on other social-networking sites that have signed on to OpenSocial.
"The Hi5 Platform is also the first OpenSocial-enabled platform to launch with numerous user distribution channels for developers' apps," a release from the company explained, "including notifications, invites, messages, friend updates and more." On one hand, those are good viral channels. On the other hand, this could be the first indicator of just how spammy an OpenSocial app can get. We've experienced that already with Facebook's applications.
In conjunction with the launch of its developer platform, Hi5 also announced that it has signed on to the OpenSocial Foundation as a "founding member." The OpenSocial Foundation was announced last week by Google, Yahoo, and News Corp.'s MySpace.com as a way to ensure the independence and stability of the open-source standard.
Google plans to relinquish its trademark on the term "OpenSocial" and offer it entirely to the independent foundation.