OpenSocial logoYesterday, 16th December 2014, the OpenSocial Foundation and the W3C announced that the “OpenSocial Foundation [is] Moving Standards Work to [the] W3C Social Web Activity“.

In the press release John Mertic, President of the OpenSocial Foundation, described how:

The consensus of the OpenSocial Board is that the next phase of Social Web Standards, built in large part on the success of OpenSocial standards and projects like Apache Shindig and Rave, should occur under the auspices of the W3C Social Web Working Group, of which OpenSocial is a founding member. The OpenSocial community has taken the idea of industry standards to govern the Social Web from dream to reality. By shifting our work now to the W3C Social Web Working Group, we will make the Open Social Web inevitable and ubiquitous.

OpenSocial has already developed a number of mature specifications which have been managed by the W3C Social Web Working Group including Activity Streams 2.0 and OpenSocial 2.5.1 Activity Streams and Embedded Experiences APIs.

The OpenSocial Foundation and W3C are invite participants in the following groups:

  • The Social Web Working Group, which is defining technical standards and APIs to facilitate access to social functionality.
  • The Social Interest Group, which is coordinating development of social use cases, and formulating a broad strategy to enable social business and federation.

The Social Web Working Group (SocialWG) wiki provides a summary of the proposed areas of work. I found the (current) singe user case of particular interest: SWAT0, the Social Web Acid Test – Level 0, provides an integration use case for the federated social web:

  1. With his phone, Dave takes a photo of Tantek and uploads it using a service
  2. Dave tags the photo with Tantek
  3. Tantek gets a notification on another service that he’s been tagged in a photo
  4. Evan, who is subscribed to Dave, sees the photo on yet another service
  5. Evan comments on the photo
  6. David and Tantek receive notifications that Evan has commented on the photo

Such functionality will be familiar to Facebook users, but in this case the users don’t need to have accounts on the same service.

It will be interesting to see how this standardisation work develops and, in particular, the extent to which we will see take-up of the standards by existing providers of social media services and the development of new services which may provide competition to existing providers


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