Google has helped solved a problem that infects new social networks and applications--how to grow them, and fast.
Google on Friday released the Google Social Graph API, which will allows developers to write apps that can easily link up people on the Web. The API takes the publicly declared relationships about your accounts, on Twitter, MySpace.com, and so on, and then your friends and their accounts, and makes that information publicly accessible for new apps. So, when you join a new network built using the API, you won't have rebuild your social-network contact list.
Here's how Google engineer Brad Fitzpatrick describes it in a blog entry: "So you've just built a totally sweet new social app and you can't wait for people to start using it, but there's a problem: when people join they don't have any friends on your site. They're lonely, and the experience isn't good because they can't use the app with people they know. You could ask them to search for and add all their friends, but you know that every other app is asking them to do the same thing and they're getting sick of it. Or they tried address book import, but that didn't totally work, because they don't even have all their friends' e-mail addresses (especially if they only know them from another social-networking site!). What's a developer to do?"
So, this won't put an end to the NotchUp invites I've been getting lately, but it might help the next social network du jour.