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MySpace backs Google's anti-Facebook play

And Bebo too

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Well, Google's OpenSocial initiative includes a big name after all.

MySpace has embraced the OpenSocial APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), a means of building applications for all sorts of social networking sites that aren't Facebook.

Oh, and Bebo has joined the mix as well.

Earlier this week, when talk of OpenSocial first leaked onto the web, MySpace wasn't mentioned as a participant, and we couldn't help but wonder if the Google-led initiative lacked a little punch.

Obviously, OpenSocial was an attempt to counter Facebook Platform, the API that Facebook served up to developers last May. But none of the participating social networks could even approach Facebook's massive popularity.

Then the official OpenSocial press release arrived this afternoon - and it came from both Google and MySpace. It said the companies were "joining forces" to launch the new service. MySpace wasn't just participant. It was "spearheading" the initiative, right alongside with Google.

When we spoke to two other OpenSocial members earlier today, both Ning and LinkedIn described Google as the project's sole ringleader. "Google has been leading the charge, but at the same time they've been extremely open to feedback and different ideas," Ning CEO Gina Bianchini told us.

But now Google and MySpace are saying they've been in talks about this sort of social networking standard for "about a year",

Whatever the circumstances, the OpenSocial initiative now includes the world's most popular social networking site. Not to mention Bebo, whose name was tucked into the bottom of today's press release. According to research firm Hitwise, Bebo recently overtook eBay as the most searched for brand in the UK. And it has likely overtaken MySpace as Britain's top social networker. ®

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