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Programming Social Applications by Jonathan LeBlanc

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OpenSocial Next: Areas of Exploration

As we explore the inner workings of an OpenSocial container system and the social aspects behind these containers, we can see the rich network of relationships developing around the online lives of individuals. OpenSocial is taking the first steps toward truly understanding and defining who a person is on the Web—what he does and what’s important to him. We all have different personalities, needs, and wants, so why can’t we map a personality profile to a user and extend that to everything he does on the Web? Why must we limit our interaction with our profiles to only the social networking containers that host them?

These are difficult questions to try to answer. In a traditional business model, any information that the company and users shared was tightly protected. Technologies and advancements were not shared between companies, which led to many proprietary solutions for similar products.

The open source movement helped to change these viewpoints, but we are a long way from truly being an open web society—where a single profile, a single activity stream, and a single relationship graph defines our online lives.

OpenSocial is moving in the right direction by embracing open web technologies and exploring the tools that people use online. This exploration has uncovered several areas where individuals interact on a regular basis and tools to help share the social state among the containers.

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