Pondering Open Social

The big geek, tech announcement this week was Google's Open Social thingamajig.  Essentially, Google is spearheading an effort to make an open API for social web sites like MySpace and Ning.  There is a really good explanation of the whole thing here, on the Pmarca blog.  The whole thing is cool; it's a major development in the ways the web works and in how we will be able to connect even more disparate networks and hubs together.


So here' s what I've been thinking about:  Whenever I want to use an application within a social network, like accessing Good Reads from within Facebook, for example, I am actually working through four layers of application.  First is the desktop (Mac OS in my case), then the browser (Firefox), then the social network (Facebook), then the application (Good Reads).  This is more than a little cumbersome.

(To be fair, I can skip the social network and go directly to Goodreads.com, but the whole point of social networks is to be able to share what I get up to on other sites or services.)

I would like to see the removal of step two, the browser.  At this point, so many applications, both for social networks and as stand-alones, are being moved to the web that I want my desktop to be the browser.  I want to be able to click an icon and go straight to the site with its attendant functions without going through the process of locating the desktop application, launching it, surfing from my start page to the social network, logging in, and then selecting my application, all after having already waited for my computer to either wake up or turn on in the first place.

I can imagine this going as far as having dedicated physical objects for dedicated services, e.g. a cheap, portable Facebook device or an Mp3 player with Emusic's website and download software pre-loaded as the device OS.  Although that may lead to a gadget explosion and most of us have enough of those as it is.

No, what I think would work best would be the removal of the browser as a separate application.  As I said, I want to be able to put Facebook, for example, in my applications and have it load up automatically as a stand-alone, yet web dependent program.

Thanks for reading and I hope this makes sense to at least some of you out there.

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