Google, MySpace are teaming up

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 2:03 AM | 0 comments »

Internet juggernauts Google and MySpace have teamed to take on social-networking website Facebook.

Google's new OpenSocial alliance encourages web developers to create software applications based on a Google standard that can run on many social networking sites. The new applications could begin appearing within the next few months. They are aimed at an audience of 200 million, including social networks Friendster and LinkedIn.

"This is really the next step in the evolution of the Web," says Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "We're ultimately in the business of people being happy online, and this helps do that."

Facebook's quick rise was fueled by the addition of hundreds of applications that could be used by Facebook users, such as photo-sharing "widgets" from Slide and RockYou and music-match service iLike.

"If you're an application developer, you can write your widget to this standard and, overnight, get distribution to 200 million people," says Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace. "You don't want to have to rebuild it for 10 different sites. What we did was create the defacto standard for social networking."

Besides MySpace, other sites that have signed up for Google's OpenSocial platform include software distributor and blogging software firm Six Apart, which runs TypePad and LiveJournal. Application developers who are working with OpenSocial include iLike and Slide, travel site SideStep and payment firm PayPal.

DeWolfe and Schmidt denied they had Facebook in their sights.

"It just makes sense that a small application developer should only have to develop once, as opposed to creating it over and over, for several different platforms," says DeWolfe. "This was a common belief we had with Google. This will just make the Internet bigger. It has nothing to do with Facebook."

MySpace last year reached a $900 million deal to have Google advertisements appear on its pages.

The OpenSocial initiative has been the subject of recent speculation on blogs and other websites. It was confirmed by Google earlier in the week.

But on Thursday, Google announced the alliance with MySpace. "We held back on the MySpace announcement until the end," says Schmidt, "because it was the most important announcement; they are the king of the space. They have the largest reach, and it's really important to partner with them."

MySpace has more than 100 million users vs. Facebook's approximately 50 million.

Google's motive in new initiatives like this is to see more of its ads on the Internet. However, Schmidt said the OpenSocial project isn't about expanding its ad base by putting ads into the widgets, but about "more people using the Internet for longer periods of time."

If people spend more time on MySpace because of the applications, he said, they're likely to be exposed to more Google ads.