Oh, OpenSocial. How utopian. How idealistic. How run-by-Google.
How not actually what Bebo decided to go with for their Open Application Platform, announced today (CNET coverage), despite having joined the initiative last month. Instead, their platform is set to be Facebook-compatible, making it easy for developers to port their Facebook apps to Bebo. Which, you know, they’re all just dying to do.
Bebo is among the first to be able to use Facebook’s markup language (FBML) externally, a capability which Facebook just announced.
So, why the betrayal? Bebo CEO (and co-founder) Michael Birch made his announcement this morning, he explained:
When OpenSocial (which has yet to launch in full) is ready and stable, Birch said, Bebo will add those APIs to its developer arsenal, too. “OpenSocial and the Facebook Platform are clearly different platforms,” he said, then added jokingly, “Our lazy development team said they couldn’t do both at once.”
I wonder if he was joking when he informed the assembled reporters that “There’s a little bit of a land grab with social networks.” (To which the assembled reporters said, “What?! Really? Huh. I’m one of the 50 people this side of the Atlantic who’s heard of Bebo and you’re telling me there’s some competition in the field? Did not know that.”)
Bebo’s platform will feature a ratings system to make it easy to find good (or at least popular) apps, as well as the ability to fully skin the apps to match your profile. At launch today, they had around forty developers and companies already working on their apps, including an app for The Office. And some others, but they probably won’t do as well as The Office, although there’s no word on whether you’ll be able to earn Schrutebucks.