Tag Archives: Opensocial

Tokyo 2.0

The web is going through another round of self-marketing and explosion due to social networking sites and the ease of publishing data to the world. Now we don’t have to have a website, blog, or even a facebook page to get our messages out. There are an increasing amount of web services that will just take your two-bits of info from your cell phone and publish them to the world for you.

But has our digital world gotten too complicated? There seems to be a different service or social network for everything we want to do. We have mySpace for when we want to promote our creative talents or just let people know what we like, we have facebook for friends and to tell people who we are, we have LinkedIn for business networking, we have twitter for friends and the followers, we have blogs to write about what we want to when we want, and some of us even still have websites to host our portfolios and businesses.

Wouldn’t it be nice if somehow we could organize all of these so that we could make updates to all of them from just one location? Why do we have to have twenty different logins and go to twenty different sites to post to all of our self-marketing endeavors? Is there a way to manage these seemingly disparate services?

Well, there may just be. And is this Web 3.0? Or is it’s going to be another service? Of course, its a service and maybe it’s a inkling on what what web 3.0 will be. For now it’s going to be a service that helps you do what you want where you want and organize it all so you don’t have to login in to 30 different services and spend all your time on the machine. It’s going to be a seemingly easy to use answer to managing our work-flow. It’s going to be a service that integrates all these other services and makes managing our online identities a breeze. It’s the new answer to the typical pattern of how our lives work. We build or start using something to make our lives easier then we make ten other things that we think make it’s even easier or cooler, then we try to organize all these into one package and hope we are done, but by the time that happens its no longer cool. So, when that package is built we say “Hey wait! What’s this! That’s new, bright and shinny, and coooooool…” And we start all over again amassing something that makes our lives complicated and cool once more. Had enough? No, never!

The Tokyo Web 2.0 event included presentations on social networking, life-streaming, and data mining that had some great insights into target marketing through the use of currently available open source API’s and other online services. There were some interesting projects presented that might be able to do some serious number crunching and definite organizing, if their services get picked up by the main stream. But, what both of these presentations had in common was that they were using all of the freely available information that they could from every known website, blog, SNS, or life-streaming service and trying to organize it into something that could be a central managing location for our online lives.

Opensocial is Google’s answer to making sense of all this. It’s a technology specification for SNS gadget platforms. So it’s a set of rules that will allow us to extend the use of social data from all the services, be it facebook, mySpace, or twitter, with the ultimate goal of making new gadgets that can display information from all of them and allowing us to use it freely and however we want to make new and cool tools and services.

The presentation given by Toshimasa Ishibashi, a web engineer at Media Technology Lab @Recruit, was a brief introduction to Opensocial application programming. OpenSocial is on it’s way for a broad release here in Japan with Mixi hosting it as an open beta platform, this coming spring. Toshimasa introduced some basic concepts of the specification, and shared some sample code and tips for non-hassle development. He even introduced a jQuery plugin to make developing with the necessary API’s even easier. The video of the presentation can be found here along with slides. The jQuery plugin here.

The other presenter was Dominiek ter Heide. He presented his own mash-up service that organizes your life-streaming information and presents it as an online blog for everyone to see. It’s like a dashboard that includes all the widgets of your life and presents your information to the world. Currently his project, Kakuteru, is an Open Business and he is asking for help from collaborators for exchange in ownership.