Feature Article

November 11, 2013

Open Mobile Alliance, OpenSocial Release New Federated Social Networking Standard

The Open Mobile Alliance and OpenSocial Foundation have announced that they are jointly releasing a set of specifications for “federated” social networking.

The new standard is called the OMA Social Networking Web (SNeW) Enabler. The standard references OpenSocial’s own SNeW 1.0.

The standard provides the ability for social networking services to be able to connect to each other instead of remaining “walled gardens” where users are encouraged to stay within one service.

Interoperability might be tough sell for social networks, which depend on user lock-in to push advertisement to their audiences. For developers, however, the ability to target users across multiple platforms might be irresistible. 

Ultimately, both OMA and OpenSocial believe that targeting users across different social networks is a good business strategy in the long run.

“For the mobile industry, there is an opportunity to leverage operator assets to enable social network interactions across operators and across multiple social networks all within one application,” said Francesco Vadalà, OMA technical plenary chair. “Federation of social networks is the future of the Social Web that will create new business opportunities based on interoperable communities of all kinds. OMA has captured this trend, and with the SNeW Enabler, has brought it to the mobile world.”

“OpenSocial provides the leading and most mature standards based component model for SaaS delivered social business applications,” said John Mertic, president of the OpenSocial Foundation. “Version 2.5 continues to set the benchmark for community driven innovation and fosters interoperability, choice, consistency, innovation, and quality between social platforms and third-party applications.”

The standard improves the REST API of OpenSocial 2.5.1, with an emphasis on person and activity streams, as well as improving compatibility with Open Mobile Alliance SNeW Enabler. It also adds a number of new features, including Common Container. Common Container formalizes APIs for management of an application’s entire lifecycle.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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