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OpenSocial turns one, previews version 0.9

OpenSocial is just over a year old and already well on its way to reaching a billion registered users by the end of 2009. We get a look at the future of the platform.

On Thursday MySpace hosted a developer event in its San Francisco offices to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the OpenSocial application platform. In the 378 days since its introduction at a Google campfire event, the open-source platform is now host to more than 600 million registered users across more than 7,500 different applications.

Google projects the number of registered users to hit more than 800 million by the first quarter of 2009 with recent OpenSocial implementation on big sites like Ning and LinkedIn. There are also foreign sites like Chinese social network Xiaonei, which joined up late Wednesday night and will introduce an additional 30 million users to OpenSocial applications.

Google took the chance to discuss plans for the upcoming 0.9 version of OpenSocial, which will feature a huge number of changes under the hood--many of which will improve the speed and overall efficiency of hosted apps. However, the biggest change for both users and developers will be the option to run multiple versions of an application at the same time. For developers this means they can have a premium or beta test version on top of their normal application and not have to worry about having an untested version go out to all their users. It also lets them offer up multiple versions for users to pick from--much like standard software.

OpenSocial 0.9 is available for testing today with a full developer release planned for January. As has been the case with previous releases, the open-source nature of the project means several weeks of developer discussions on proposed specifications followed by voting on the updated draft and a push out to participating sites before a new standard version is released.

Opensocial is on track to pull in close to 900 million registered users by the first quarter of 2009. Here you can see the make-up of users across various participating social networks. Josh Lowensohn/CNET Networks