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Social games

Facebook are still far behind MySpace in market share but Facebook are coming up fast. But have the rules of the game just changed?

A couple of days ago Google announced OpenSocial, an API similar to the one Facebook opened up for it's applications platform. It can be used to build similar apps for networks that support this API. They launched with a long list of partner sites but rather amazingly they've just announced that MySpace are in too!

So lots more gadgets, widgets and annoying zombie biting things. What's changed the game though is that social network sites can use this API to get user info out of other social networks. Is this the answer to the social network portability problem? It's something Jeremy Keith has been talking about for some time (he has a real thing about it), but he's been pushing for adoption of XFN and other open standards. So have Google just solved the problem over night?

Well OpenSocial isn't exactly an open standard, but it's a good start. Combined with networks publishing XFN and hCard there will hopefully be a smaller number of standards to access a much larger amount of data.

The potential now is to be able to interact with people on other social networks as though they were on yours. The way

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Google Calendar in your Pocket

I recently got myself a groovy little PDA phone, the SPV M600. It's not one of the cheesy silver ones, it's matt black, ignoring the fact its a bit crap as a phone it's been pretty cool! The first thing I wanted to try was playing around with the .net 2.0 Compact Framework, I tried deploying a couple of "Hello World" type things. Then I wanted to get my google calendar on it, I had a little look around for something that would sync but couldn't find much, most of the tools sync with Outlook then rely on ActiveSync to put it on your device, there is no way I'm going to install Outlook on my laptop just for that, it's bad enough having to install ActiveSync! Plus I went out of my way to get a WiFi PDA exactly so I wouldn't need a PC on all the time (I use a few shared calendars that I need to keep an eye on) So I had my project, an app to pull my GCalendar feed into Pocket Outlook. I dug around a bit and came across an item on Googles Code blog posted a couple of days before about their API library for .net, announcing it now compiled on the Compact Framework. Add to that the managed Pocket Outlook Object Model API in the windows mobile 5 SDK, easy! A few days of faffing around and fixing bugs in GData (I was on the pre-release stuff), and I've got it working. I've set up a project on google code. Still got quite a few things to do (it doesn't even support shared calendars yet) but please go and try it and if you want to help out then check the issue list and let me know! Even if you're not a programer, I need an icon for it ;)

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ts0
Thom Shannon's background in making chips gives him a unique insight into the web development industry. As the Technical Director of Glow New Media he works with clients across the UK to deliver high quality web marketing solutions using the latest techniques, accessibility practices, and web standards in both straight and crinkle cut.


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Thomas Shannon-Smith
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Thom Shannon-Smith