Open Coffee Club,
21 June, Bangalore
The Bangalore Open Coffee Club, or OCC, meet had a discussion centred on OpenSocial APIs (application programming interface). With the rise of several social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut, MySpace and Linkedin, developers had to build applications for these varied platforms, even though they offered similar functionality. OpenSocial promises to change this by a unified set of APIs that will be supported by different websites.
However, according to the OpenSocial developers present at the meet, such applications routinely broke on different platforms. One grouse of OpenSocial developers was that the platform was in a constant state of flux and the APIs themselves were changing from version to version without backward compatibility.
The discussion then veered towards marketing aspects of OpenSocial widgets. The consensus was that while these applications drive traffic, quality of traffic was lacking, so monetization was difficult. Notable exceptions include RockYou’s Superwall and Animoto. Pranav Bhasin, co-founder of website lifeblob.com, quoted statistics that an application hits its peak usage within two weeks and should have a retention rate of about 90% to be successful.
Aakash Bapna gave an overview of the OpenSocial platform architecture followed by a hands-on demo of building an application using the OpenSocial APIs. Since the applications should work across platforms, data portability was a concern. To address this, it was pointed out that the Google Social Graph API form lets users export the public data of their network in various formats. The session concluded with discussions on scaling the application once it becomes popular.
Vinayak Hegde is co-founder of start-up support group Kickstart and an active member of ACM’s Bangalore chapter. He currently works as an architect with Akamai Technologies.