MySpace to officially join Google's OpenSocial

The News Corp.-owned social network is formally part of the Google-created social networking developer platform.

MySpace and Google have issued a press release that, confirming rumors , announces that the News Corp.-owned social networking site will be part of Google's new OpenSocial developer initiative.

MySpace was not initially announced as a part of OpenSocial, leading many to believe that it was absent from the project despite the fact that it already has a search and advertising contract with Google. In an interview with CNET News.com on Wednesday, Google's director of product management, Joe Kraus, said "We would love MySpace to be a part of it," which technically neither confirmed nor denied its partnership.

When smaller rival Facebook started to take off in both membership numbers and public favor after launching a developer platform in May, MySpace seemed somewhat shellshocked and began focusing on initiatives like games and original video programming that fit it more into the mold of a media hub rather than a social network. But last month, MySpace confirmed that it was working on a developer platform strategy of its own.

The release also provides a full list of launch partners for OpenSocial: Engage.com, Friendster, Hi5, Hyves, Imeem, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, Orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart (the parent company of TypePad, Movable Type, LiveJournal, and Vox), Tianji, Viadeo, and Xing. Several of those partners, like the high-profile Six Apart and Imeem, had not yet been confirmed otherwise.

But from what it sounds like, MySpace may have a more prominent role in OpenSocial than most or all of the other players--perhaps due to its sheer size.

"As the most trafficked website in the country and the most popular social network in the world, MySpace is one of the leading forces in the global social Web," Google CEO Eric Schmidt is quoted as saying in the release. "We're thrilled to grow our strategic relationship with MySpace by joining forces on this important initiative."

The official OpenSocial announcement, as expected, will come tonight, after which point developers will be able to begin working on OpenSocial applications.

A MySpace profile with a sample Flixster.com movies widget on it (bottom right), created with OpenSocial. MySpace
 

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