OpenSocial Drives Collaboration in the Enterprise

Michael Vizard

For the all the efforts of the big vendors, sometimes it's the grassroots efforts of everyday developers in the enterprise that set the standard. Such is the case with the OpenSocial application programming interfaces put forth by Google as a way to force Facebook to open up it's social networking environment.

While OpenSocial has made huge strides in the last year in terms of acceptance in social network environments, the implications of OpenSocial are just beginning to be understood in the enterprise. In particular, IT organizations are starting to see in OpenSocial a set of APIs that can be broadly applied to integrate any number of collaboration applications.

Right now the lack of integration standards for collaboration applications is conspiring to hinder productivity in the enterprise. In the past, vendors have put forward several portal standards for integrating applications built on Web portals, but there has been no consensus on anything approaching a broad-based integration standard. As a result, enterprising souls are taking matters into their own hands.

For example, Atlassian, a provider of issue-tracking software and other collaboration tools aimed at developers, added OpenSocial support to its software to foster collaboration. According to Jay Simons, vice president of marketing for Atlassian, the OpenSocial APIs provide a pretty straightforward way to integrate teams of developers that want to work collaboratively using the same types of widgets commonly associated with consumer Web applications.

Now even major corporations are getting the potential of OpenSocial. A team of developers at Lockheed Martin announced that are using containers based on OpenSocial as framework for developing an internal social network.

The potential of OpenSocial in the enterprise is little understood just yet. But it's pretty clear that as more corporate developers get exposed to it on the Web, it's only a matter of time before OpenSocial transforms collaboration across a broad range of enterprise applications.

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