While Open Social is still getting started (there are less than 300 open social applications on Orkut for example and nearly 30,000 on Facebook), it is going to be an important platform in the coming Social Web.
Ringside has been working on letting any website be a container for Open Social and to hook into the emerging Open Social ecosystem. Bill Reichert does an excellent job of explaining it in this video.
Open Social reminds me of the old J2EE specification. Sun released a reference implementation – similar to Open Social’s Apache Shindig reference implementation. Like the Sun version, Shindig is meant to be used as a framework for large social networks like Orkut and Hi5 to implement their own version of Open Social – just like IBM, BEA, JBoss and many others did with the Sun reference implementation. Ringside is filling in the role of implementing a production version of Shindig that any website could use to build their own little mini social network among their own users. We then add in the capability of Identity Mapping to allow users to hook into the big Social Networks like Facebook and MySpace.
We see the Facebook API and the Open Social API becoming the two standards for Social Application development over time – just like .Net and J2EE became the standards for web applications around the turn of the century. Ringside allows any website to build Facebook and/or Open Social applications today that will run on both your website as well as Facebook and the large Open Social websites like MySpace, hi5 and others.
While we are still in beta, we welcome early adopters and user feedback and suggestions. Of course this is all in free open source. Onward to the Social Web!