This week there has been a slew of news about social networks and big companies ramping up their social software features. Here's a quick summary of the latest news and some thoughts below.
- Apple Making Huge Social Software Push - Josh Porter digs into Apple releases to find a Wiki Server, iCal Calendar Sharing, iChat Screen Sharing, iTunes Social Features Survey, and Teams in Leopard Server. Andy Baio notes that "social networks will eventually be built into the OS".
- Marc Canter reports that Facebook is now offering open APIs for people, friends, events, and more.
- Microsoft To Enable User-Created Xbox 360 Games - the aim is to "democratize game development by delivering the necessary tools to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike..." (via)
- Online video continues to grow, according to comScore, with Myspace Video doubling traffic in July and YouTube breaking into comScore's Top 50. (via)
- Also there's the prospect of Internet-based TV.
- XuQa Combines Social Networking With Games
- Yahoo! Answers API now available.
- More talk from the BBC about "liberating" their content
- US cable operator Comcast "has Yahoo-size ambitions" on the Internet
What do all of these things have in common? It's all about expanding networks to enable more social functionality - and in cases like Facebook, actually opening up the platform to external developers.
A lot of people think the social aspect of this era of the Web is its defining characteristic. And judging by all the news above, it's hard to argue against that! It's fantastic too that Apple is getting into the spirit of things, while Microsoft and Yahoo continue to set the pace for the big companies. Social networking and Google are uneasy bedfellows, but hopefully even they will get into the act soon.