A cool way of seeing how pages are interconnected socially is being shut down. Google says its Social Graph API is being retired.
Social Graph API Closes In April
The news came in a blog post today:
This API makes information about the public connections between people on the web available for developers. The API isn’t experiencing the kind of adoption we’d like, and is being deprecated as of today. It will be fully retired on April 20, 2012.
The Social Graph API is a way for web pages to declare — in an automated way — social connections between themselves. For example, your blog might link to your Twitter page. Behind the scenes, the link is done in a way helpful to those developing social products to know that there’s a social connection between the two.
This past article from our sister site Search Engine Land explains more: Mine The Web’s Socially-Tagged Links: Google Social Graph API Launched.
You can also still see how this works through the Social Graph API using this Google tool. It’s pretty amazing what it can illustrate, such as what I get after entering the home page for my personal blog:
OpenSocial Stays Active
An earlier version of this story questioned if the closure of the Social Graph API also effectively meant that OpenSocial was also being closed.
Back in 2007, worried that too much of the web’s social information was being locked behind Facebook’s walls, Google launched OpenSocial. It was designed to be an “open” way of sharing social data, as the Open Social home page says:
But the Social Graph API isn’t part of the OpenSocial effort, says Google, which told me:
Though the names are similar, Social Graph API is unrelated to OpenSocial.
The Social Graph API was a means to access a crawl we did of XFN and other public graph data.
OpenSocial is a standard set of APIs for embedding social gadgets in websites.
They’re both APIs, but APIs to different data, satisfying different use cases.
Google Tapping Into The Google+ Graph
I still find it disappointing that the Social Graph API is being closed. It gives me the impression that since Google now has its own social data within the walls of Google+, it’s less interested having an “open” system that anyone can use to share social data.
One example of this is here:
That’s what I see when I visit my page on Google where it reveals what it knows about me socially (you can check your own here).
Until last week’s launch of Search Plus Your World, this data came from the Social Graph API. But now, as Kevin Marks points out, it has shifted to using just what Google+ knows about my social connections.
From the text on that page:
With Search plus Your World, we have adopted the Google+ Circles social connections model.
If you aren’t a Google+ user, the people you’ll find in search results are based on the same signals used for people suggestions in Google+.
If you are a Google+ user, you can now manage your connections right on the results page, or in the Google+ Circles editor.
Again, prior to last week, Google was pushing the idea that anyone could tap into a common set of social connections to build things like social search. Using this type of open information, in fact, was something that Facebook mistakenly tried to paint as some type of Google “scraping” last year.
Now it doesn’t matter. Rather that tap into an open social graph, Google has its own “closed” graph it can use — just like Facebook.
- OpenSocial: Led By Google, Social Networks Band To Take On Facebook
- MySpace, Others Join Google-Led OpenSocial
- Google: As Open As It Wants To Be (i.e., When It’s Convenient)
- Mine The Web’s Socially-Tagged Links: Google Social Graph API Launched
- How Facebook Enables The Google Social “Scraping” It’s Upset About
- Examining Facebook’s “Smear Campaign” Concerns About Google Social Circles
- Publishers Seeing Early Success With Facebook Open Graph Integration
- Will “Apps For Timeline” Make Facebook The Next Major Apps Ecosystem?
- Google Now Forcing All New Users To Create Google+ Enabled Accounts
- FAQ: What’s The Debate About Google’s Search Plus Your World?