The mighty Google has decided that the widget playground that Facebook created needs to be open to all and is launching OpenSocial to make it happen. The offering provides a common platform that allows widget creation and use across a multitude of social networking sites - if they choose to participate.
A number of big names are on board including Friendster, LinkedIn, Orkut, Salesforce, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Viadeo, and Oracle. Developers including iLike, Flixter, and Slide have signed up as well. When OpenSocial goes live today anyone with a little web design experience can develop widgets usable on growing list of sites.
OpenSocial solves the problem of having to update information across many different sites and the potential for viral music marketing and sales is immense although unproven. But, at least for now, some of the biggest players including MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft are missing from the list of OpenSource converts.