Google announces OpenSocial 0.8

An update to the technology for social Web applications makes it easier to build software that runs outside the browser, too.

It's still not up to 1.0, but Google on Wednesday announced completion of version 0.8 of OpenSocial, a standard for building social applications on the Web.

One notable difference with OpenSocial 0.8 is the addition of the RESTful API. This addition lets a wider variety of software beside just Web-based widgets running in JavaScript interact with the servers running social applications. For example, it would permit a program running on Windows or on a mobile phone, but not in a Web browser, tap into a social application.

OpenSocial began at Google, but the company won allies for it. Web heavyweights including and Yahoo joined Google to manage the technology through the OpenSocial Foundation. OpenSocial is one theme getting heavy emphasis at the first Google I/O conference in San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday.

The technology consists of a number of standardized Web programming interfaces called APIs; with OpenSocial, a developer can more easily write a single application that runs on several different Web sites.

Programmers are working on building OpenSocial 0.8 support into Apache Shindig, an open-source project that can endow servers with OpenSocial support, Dan Peterson, a Google product manager, said in a blog posting. "Expect to see containers supporting it in the coming weeks and months," he said.

Other changes beside the RESTful API are documented in the OpenSocial 0.8 release notes.

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