Google gunning for Facebook developers

Google is to announce a common set of tools that will allow developers to create applications for multiple social networking sites, eliminating the need for programmers to rewrite their applications for each site that hosts them.

Google gunning for Facebook developers

Google says it has initially signed on a dozen partners for its OpenSocial tools, including LinkedIn, Orkut and Friendster and will be testing the program with established Facebook developers, such as iLike and Slide, which created the “Top Friends” ranking application.

The company is hoping that the system will lure developers from Facebook by allowing their applications to find a home on other websites.

“For months we’ve been approached by other websites that want us to build iLike widgets for them and we’ve been unable to build it for them,” says iLike Chief Executive Ali Partovi.

“The benefit OpenSocial offers us is we can essentially … syndicate what we do to other social networks.”

“This is about making the web more social, how do you have your friends go along with you to any site on the web?” says Joe Kraus, Google director of product management, in an interview.

Industry blogs have speculated for nearly a month that Google aimed to unleash a major challenge to Facebook, which has grown to more than 48 million users after its decision to open up its platform to developers in May.

The announcement comes a week after Facebook secured an investment from Microsoft valuing it at $15 billion. The social networking site is due to announce its own new advertising strategy on November 6.

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