Well, I knew we were jumping into a hot space when I started Spatial Networking, but the activity in the social networking area in the five weeks since we started has been pretty mind-boggling. First, Facebook announced their fbFund (actually just before we formally incorporated the company) which aims to encourage application development on the Facebook Platform by offering grants of $25,000 to $250,000 - which seemed like one good indication that we were getting into an interesting area. Then, after Steve Ballmer saying that social networks seemed "faddish", Microsoft invested $240m for a 1.6% stake in Facebook, valuing them at $15 billion when they only have an estimated $150m in revenues. For a few weeks now there has been great anticipation about Facebook launching a major new advertising initiative, which is expected to be announced next week on November 6.
And then yesterday, there was a major announcement from Google about a new open platform called Open Social, which is as the name suggests a new open approach to social networking. As Techcrunch puts it, "within just the last couple of days, the entire social networking world has announced that they are ganging up to take on Facebook, and Google is their Quarterback in the big game". The impressive list of partners involved includes LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo and - interestingly - salesforce.com and Oracle, who are (presumably) looking to applying some of the principles of social networking in a business environment. We had been thinking about potential applications for our system with salesforce.com before this announcement.
So this all seems like good news for us, in terms of enabling us to integrate the location related functionality we're developing (focused on Facebook initially) with multiple systems using one standard approach.