Happy birthday, OpenSocial! Welcome to Xiaonei

OpenSocial, the standards platform that makes it easier to write applications across social networks, is celebrating its one-year birthday in San Francisco today. As part of the festivities, OpenSocial made several announcements, most significantly launching on Chinese social networking site Xiaonei, and releasing some impressive statistics.

Getting onto Xiaonei is pretty significant for making inroads into the Chinese market — with 30 million registered users, it’s the largest social networking site in China, and has built an application platform that’s closely modeled on Facebook’s. (Xiaonei’s competitor 51.com, which is more popular in some major cities, is already on OpenSocial) That’s a significant increase in the platform’s reach: OpenSocial now has more than 600 million potential users, according to the numbers released today.

OpenSocial also says that it has more than 7,500 applications that have been installed more than 315 million times. That represents a sizable chunk (but probably still a minority) of the potential user base. There are more than 20 OpenSocial “containers,” namely sites that support OpenSocial applications. Among the recent additions are build-your-own-social-network service Ning and professional networking site LinkedIn.

As for where the platform goes from here, there are plans to release version 0.9 early next year. A lot of the details discussed today are pretty technical, but OpenSocial says the bottom line is that it will lower the barriers to entry, aiming at JavaScript developers and more of a hobbiest crowd. At the press briefing, reporters pressed OpenSocial representatives on what kinds of improvements we’ll see with version 1.0. Looks like they’ve been taking a page from OpenSocial founder Google, which is notorious for leaving production-ready applications in beta testing — they said 0.9 is “1.0 worthy” already — 1.0 itself is “just a number.”


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