Every another week, new social network is launched by innovative entrepreneurs. This makes really challenging for social application entrepreneurs & companies who wish to develop & implement their social applications across the all popular social networks. Previously there was no choice of generic social application development platform. You need to almost re-engineer social application to make it work on another social platform eg. MySpace/Bebo if its originally developed to work on Facebook. Almost all top social networking sites/plaform have their own proprietary API platform to support social application development & integration.
Another major challenge faced by social app entrepreneurs & companies is cost of bandwidth & server requirements. Many social apps which became very successful instantly due to viral marketing failed to stay-up due to lack of proper bandwidth & application hosting environment. Right now Amazon EC2 webservices & similar services are of assistance, still there is a considerable cost & technical management required.
OpenSocial is built upon Google gadgets technology framework. With the Google Gadget Editor and a simple key/value API, complete social applications can be build without separate application hosting i.e. no server at all. OpenSocial also provide option to host social application on social app owner's independent hosting servers. In both cases, Google's gadget caching technology provide breather for bandwidth demands in case social application suddenly become a huge success & faces sudden surge in traffic.
OpenSocial looks like will help to tackle both major challenges (multiple application platform & cost involved in bandwidth/hosting) faced by social application developers & entrepreneurs. Still we need to wait for some time to judge its success, as its still in beta & not supported by few key social networking platforms like facebook.com.