Forrester Report: Google’s OpenSocial: Good News For Marketing Widgets But No Silver Bullet

I’m proud to announce my latest report on OpenSocial. If you’re not familiar with that, check out How to Explain OpenSocial to your Executives.

I interview Google, developers, and social network platforms to find out their ideology and experience with converting applications to the OpenSocial protocol, and I quickly learned that while the promise is indeed a powerful one, in reality, it will be very difficult to achieve. In some cases, developers tell me that widget code needs to be modified up to 50%.

For clients, you can access the short report on the Forrester site, or you can purchase it on the site. As much as I’d love to share this research to everyone, like you have your products, this is ours, and there are costs associated.

Google’s OpenSocial: Good News For Marketing Widgets But No Silver Bullet Google, along with a congress of more than a dozen social networks, plans to launch OpenSocial, a set of standards that will allow widgets to be built once and run on any Web site compatible with OpenSocial. What’s in it for interactive marketers? The ability to efficiently create engaging branded experiences that reach millions of new communities. However, don’t expect your widgets to universally proliferate, as adoption will vary based upon the demographic and technical characteristics of each online community. Interactive marketers should deploy widgets using OpenSocial standards, yet they should also plan – and budget – for rapid iterations and flexibility.

I interviewed:
Google’s OpenSocial Team, IBM’s Lotus Team, KickApps, NewsGator Technologies, Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr, Six Apart’s David Recordon, and Nick O’Neil of

4 Replies to “Forrester Report: Google’s OpenSocial: Good News For Marketing Widgets But No Silver Bullet”

  1. Recently google announced changes to their igoogle portal. With help from open social igoogle will clone facebook in appearance, function, and popularity.

    even though there is will be some editing of javascript code for widgets to work on all sites that implement the opensocial server (apache shindig), as long as they work on igoogle, Google will benefit, and OpenSocial will help chop down Facebook.

    I personally am looking for makeing widgets for igoogle and not really excited for any other network.

  2. Jeremiah
    As ususal good aarticle nd timely report.
    In rsitez (, you mentioned us in your white-label list post) we provide white-label solutions to create social networks and OpenSocial is very good news. Even with the challenges that you point out, specially the potential modification of code needed.
    Even if it works partially, all the social networks that are appearing outside the mainstream of facebook, myspace, etc will be able to integrate and import easily widgets and other good content that will make them more appelling. In rsitez, we believe that OpenSocial even if it is still a work in progress it will shake a lot current players in this industry if they don’t take it seriously. We are.


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