Google Will Outflank Facebook-Microsoft If Yahoo Joins OpenSocial

UPDATE: TechCrunch "is hearing" that Yahoo will join Open Social in April. Still in rumor stage.

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If Yahoo joins the OpenSocial alliance, Microsoft and Facebook may find themselves out in the cold.

The New York Times is reporting that Yahoo intends to join Google's OpenSocial Alliance, placing increased pressure on Facebook, the only major social network yet to join the development network.

Last year, Facebook signed an ad deal with Microsoft, effectively placing the popular social networking site between a rock and a hard place when it comes to social web application standards.

OpenSocial already boasts a Who's Who list of social networks. MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, Ning, Orkut, Six Apart, Friendster, Xing and many others, including old-school Oracle and Salesforce.com, are participating in the alliance. While Yahoo is not a social network, it does boast the largest number of registered users. The company believes it could receive great benefit from opening up its site to developers.

So what implications does this have on a possible Microsoft-Yahoo deal? It may make it tougher for Microsoft to "untangle" Yahoo initiatives, but it's unlikely to derail the bid altogether. Don't look for Microsoft to join OpenSocial anytime soon.

Google launched OpenSocial last fall, as an initiative to develop a common set of APIs that can be used across several different social networking sites, in an effort to draw developers to an open platform. Earlier this week, Google made another play for web developers by announcing its I/O Web Forward developers conference, planned for later this spring.

About the author

Nathania was a Search Engine Watch news correspondent from 2008 to 2010. Before that, she held positions as Senior Editor at Bold Interactive and Search Marketing Copywriter at Fortune Interactive.