Read/WriteWeb got the scoop that social network Bebo was about to announce a developer platform. This was pre-OpenSocial, which Bebo joined at the beginning of November. Then in mid November Bebo announced Open Media, which we described as not terribly open and "like a white listing of professionally produced, big media content." [see also last100's take on it] At that time there weren't many details on the Bebo platform.Back in October
Today Bebo has fully lifted the lid on their platform plans - and surprisingly it has ended up aligning itself to the Facebook platform. Surprising, because previously it had declared itself a partner in Google's competing OpenSocial.
The Inside Facebook blog reports that the Bebo platform is almost identical to Facebook's - it is nearly 100% compatible, in that the APIs, markup language, and query language are all the same. The Bebo Platform is launching tonight with 40 application developer partners and media partners such as NBC Universal and Flixster.
A post today on the official Facebook blog notes that Facebook is opening up its platform architecture to other social networks. So this move by Bebo/Facebook is certainly a move against Google's OpenSocial. Although it looks like Bebo may be trying to have its cake and eat it too, by declaring support for both Facebook and OpenSocial.
Bebo is one of the largest social networks in the world and is above MySpace and Facebook in some parts of the world (e.g. it is number 1 in the UK and New Zealand). One can't help but think that Facebook is the big winner with this announcement though, while OpenSocial is looking increasingly like a marketing ploy with little substance. That may change, as we learn more about how OpenSocial is being deployed by the likes of MySpace. But thus far, Facebook continues to ramp up its developer platform - and Bebo's support is a big win for them.
In related news, Webware reports that Friendster has fully launched its developer platform with more than 180 applications available to its 56 million registered users. Friendster first announced the platform on October 25.