AOL confirms it's joining Open Social

John Shinal · May 28, 2008 · Short URL:

Ever since AOL bought the social media site Bebo for $850 million back in March, people have been wondering if and when the Web site would join Open Social.

Bebo, after all, was a charter member of the Google-led group that's looking to create a common social networking platform for developers of widgets, gadgets and other apps.

Now the wait is over.

At Google's developers' conference, known as IO 2008, AOL software engineer Eric Staats said AOL would open up the API for its My AOL network so that developers can create apps for AOL users.

"We want to make a change, we want to embrace you, the developers, so... My AOL is going to become a gadget container in the near future," Staats said.

Launched last year, My AOL is like iGoogle and My Yahoo -- an inward-facing platform that only lets users inside AOL's walled garden access its "gadgets".

But starting soon, My AOL will support the functionality of Open Social 0.8, the latest test version of the platform. Staats said AOL is hoping that will happen this summer.

The latest figures for My AOL give it 20 million users spread across 55 portals in 16 countries, according to Staats. 

The new version of My AOL will be built on top of Shindig, the Java-based software being pushed by Sun Microsystems that's being used as a development template by most Open Social sites. 

A main topic at the Google conference in San Francisco was how app developers would be able to make money off Open Social if monetization takes place inside social networks. We'll go more into that in a later post today.

And if you start to get bored at the end of the video in this post, be sure to stick around for the gong and the shaky hand-held camera angle. 

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