Google's OpenSocial APIs may be gaining a major new adherent this week. According to the New York Times, Yahoo is expected to join the group that includes MySpace, Plaxo, Bebo, Hi5, Orkut, LinkedIn, Six Apart, Oracle, salesforce.com and Ning, among others. In fact, Facebook is the only major social networking platform that has not joined the OpenSocial club.
OpenSocial allows applications to tap into the social graph, the network of friends and their feeds, of multiple social networks without code rewrites.
Speaking with CNET News.com's Caroline McCarthy at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival over the weekend, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was taking a wait and see approach to OpenSocial.
"Most of the social services that people use aren't going to be built by us. And that's cool. That's a good way to be. And so if Google's building some stuff, it could be completely complementary with us, but it's probably also going to move the ecosystem forward. We just kind of want to watch the direction that things are going in."
Facebook doesn't have a great need to jump on the OpenSocial bandwagon now. To date, Facebook has 200,000 developers and 16,000 applications, and is licensing its developer platform to external networks, such as Bebo. Revamping its platform to support OpenSocial isn't a high priority at this point, but a Facebook versus the rest of the social Web--like Microsoft versus the Apple platform in another era--isn't an appealing outcome. If OpenSocial, which is open sourced, begins attracting hordes of developers and users, Facebook will likely get on the bandwagon rather than become a barrier to entry.