Google's OpenSocial API could convert iGoogle into a social media platform
A simple demonstration of adding access to the OpenSocial API through iGoogle gadgets is the hot topic of discussion among both Web developers and social network aficionados today, as Google looks more poised to take on the social net leaders.
A new tool for skilled and amateur developers to build social networking gadgets using version 0.7 of the OpenSocial API, launched by Google last October, looks very conspicuously like a way to populate the service's iGoogle personalized home pages with features that could put it in competition with social networking sites like MySpace.
One example of that intention comes by way of Google's extended explanation of its new "canvas view," which is its version of an expanded frame control that can be categorized using tabs. The example shows how the control can be expanded to show rows revealing thumbnails of book covers and their titles, corresponding to books that friends in the OpenSocial system say they're reading or have read.
The example does not show price or availability, though it doesn't seem likely that such an extrapolation would be off limits to developers playing in Google's sandbox.