OpenSocial Now on Ning!

OpenSocial is now live across our more than 500,000 social networks this morning. This release replaces and improves our older “Gadgets” beta functionality, and enables Network Creators and their members to add all sorts of great new features, or Applications, to their profile pages with a single click.

Each social network on Ning now offers more than 30 OpenSocial applications from which to choose, including file sharing from Box.net, poll creation from Polldaddy and e-commerce from Shopit.

It’s been a pleasure to work with the vibrant (and ever-growing) community of OpenSocial developers and see the diversity of the applications they’ve created.

Dave Westwood, who built a fantastic application called BuddyPoke, was especially enthusiastic, stating that “Releasing BuddyPoke on Ning has been the easiest port we’ve done, taking just an hour to be up and running. Excellent documentation. Congratulations!”

Here are some cool highlights of our OpenSocial integration:

  • The OpenSocial directory on each network automatically inherits the branding and visual design of that network.
  • OpenSocial applications on Ning can inherit the visual style of the member profile page to which they’re added.
  • OpenSocial applications are automatically integrated into a network’s viral loops. The ability for OpenSocial applications to write to a member’s latest activity feed, send messages on behalf of the member and spread using a network’s default viral sharing options are all there by default.

Here’s the Application Directory:

Here’s an Application’s ‘About’ Page in the Directory:

Here’s an Application on a Member Profile Page:

Here’s an Application’s Full-Size (or ‘Canvas’) View:

And for the full scoop, here’s a screencast:

Watch a larger QuickTime version here. Like the song? It’s done by Gerador Zero and you can download it here.

If you’re an OpenSocial developer, please check out our all-new documentation. We’d love to have you on board!

About the Author:

Kyle Ford – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.


  • Carrie Saarinen

    How do these application affect the free version of Ning? If our users implement many of these tools and use them regularly, would this mean we would most likely have to buy additional storage space and bandwidth?

  • Paul McAvinchey

    Hi Kyle and the rest,

    I think this is fantastic. And it’s execution is even better than I expected. I am looking forward to telling my community of how they can enjoy these applications.

    Question: I feel left out of this as a network creator. These applications and their makers are the only ones who will profit from their popularity. I have heard that opensocial will be made more usable by network creators. Will this allow us to profit by centralising an application somewhere on our sites?

    For example, in the ShopIt application, that company is making money from every transaction. I would like the ability to put a ShopIt storefront somewhere prominent on the site in a return for commission on each transaction completed on the site.

    Otherwise, I will have to continue with my site without a clear and natural business model for niche social networking.

  • Evan

    Hi Carrie!

    That’s a good question. Adding OpenSocial applications should not affect your storage and bandwidth. That’s because they are hosted externally, not on Ning’s servers.

    Cheers!
    Evan

  • Evan

    Hi Kyle!

    Thanks for raising this issue. We certainly hope to not leave you out. First and foremost, the advantage you should feel as a Network Creator from this release is the increased functionality that your network will have. Essentially, your network has just added dozens of new uses to your network. That should increase the number of reasons members have to visit your network, helping your network grow.

    As for the future, the plan is to bring OpenSocial applications to the network level in December. This should hugely benefit your network as well, as you’ll be able to add all kinds of features to your network, quickly and easily. And if it’s shopping Applications you’re looking for, I’m sure those will be in development as well!

  • Josh

    Love the new applications, however they seem to conflict with the standard ning CSS. My back ground is set to Black however it’s all white on my profile page?

    Otherwise nice work.

  • Les S.

    As a Network Creator, I’d like some control over these apps. Some of them are inappropriate for my demographic. Can you develop a way where a network creator can choose which open social apps would be available to the members of their network?

    For example, making the cutesiness of buddypoke available on a network for heavy metal fanatics would really decrease the street cred of that network.

  • Jeannie

    Will network creators be able to control which apps members can add to their network in the future?

    I have strict rules about promoting products and services on one of my networks and I don’t want to have to ‘police’ the apps added on individual member pages.

  • Evan

    Hi Les!

    That’s a good point. Giving Network Creators the ability to block particular applications has been a common request, and we’re currently looking at the feasibility of adding that feature to your networks.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  • Evan

    Hi Josh!

    We’ve noticed that as well. We’ll definitely be working on better visual integration for OpenSocial apps down the road.

  • Ian

    How about adding OpenSocial applications to the Main page of a network? Is that also still possible? I only see mention of how to add applications to the profile pages.

  • Evan

    Hi Ian!

    For now, Applications can only be added to your members’ profile pages. We definitely want to introduce Applications network-wide, and plan to include this functionality in a future release!