Google Weekend: Open API, Social Media, and Unity Cable Rumors

This weekend’s tech news was dominated by some pretty significant Google rumors. First, Google will reportedly open up its API in early November to better rival Facebook. From TechCrunch:

On November 5 we’ll likely see third party iGoogle gadgets that leverage Orkut’s social graph information – the most basic implementation of what Google is planning. From there we may see a lot more – such as the ability to pull Orkut data outside of Google and into third party applications via the APIs. And Google is also considering allowing third parties to join the party at the other end of the platform – meaning other social networks (think Bebo, Friendster, Twitter, Digg and thousands of others) to give access to their user data to developers through those same APIs.

And that is a potentially killer strategy. Facebook has a platform to allow third parties to build applications on Facebook itself. But what Google may be planning is significantly more open – allowing third parties to both push and pull data, into and out of Google and non-Google applications.

Then, yesterday the Google Operating System blog reported (via MacRumors forums) that Google may start testing a Second Life-style Google Earth virtual world at Arizona State University. Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land notes that if both these rumors are true, the pressure’s on Facebook to divulge open up similarly, divulging its social data. At the same time, Sullivan also points out that this may shoot Google in the foot, because “that type of push will haunt Google when you’ve got search developers asking why it doesn’t open up its massive search index.”

Communications Day also reported Friday that Google is planning to lay undersea cable, called “Unity,” in the Pacific Ocean. Google won’t confirm the rumor, but the NYT’s Bits blog explains:

Google has long been buying up data communications capacity. Its search engine works by making copies of nearly every page of the Internet in its own data centers. That requires Google move no small amount of data around the world on a regular basis. And its new plans to deliver applications over the Internet will use even more bandwidth.

Meanwhile, in confirmed news, Guardian Unlimited reported Friday that Google is muscling in on the UK’s broadband and mobile industries by bidding on now-available wireless spectrum there. Google’s interest in getting in that game stateside continues to develop as well, and the laying of cable would give Google bigger clout if Net Neutrality does indeed die.

Google is understood to be considering its move into wireless after Ofcom’s surprise proposal yesterday that it will take back part of the 2G spectrum handed over in 1985 so it can auction it off. It reckons up to three operators could use it for wireless broadband services.

One Response to “Google Weekend: Open API, Social Media, and Unity Cable Rumors”

  1. Social network news: MS Facebook and Orkut API «

    […] Secondly, and certainly more exciting from my POV is the story that Google is thinking about providing an API to social graph data from its social networking service orkut, which could potentially be used by any third-party applications or even by other social media sites such as Bebo, Twitter, etc. […]


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