In a nutshell, Open Social is an open web API that can be supported by two kinds of developers:
* “Containers” — social networking systems like Ning, Orkut, LinkedIn, Hi5, and Friendster, and…
* “Apps” — applications that want to be embedded within containers — for example, the kinds of applications built by iLike, Flixster, Rockyou, and Slide.
This is the exact same concept as the Facebook platform, with two huge differences:
* With the Facebook platform, only Facebook itself can be a “container” — “apps” can only run within Facebook itself. In contrast, with Open Social, any social network can be an Open Social container and allow Open Social apps to run within it.