OpenSocial, Google’s Open Answer to Facebook

opensocial2.gifGoogle’s (GOOG) much awaited answer to Facebook ecosystem is finally coming to light. The existence of this Google platform was first reported by TechCrunch and is going to become official tomorrow.

Google will announce its new social networking initiative, Open Social on Thursday. Joining Google and its Orkut social network are other partners such as XING, Friendster, hi5, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Newsgator and Ning.

OpenSocial is a set of common APIs for building social applications on the web. These common APIs mean that developers only have to learn once in order to start building social applications for multiple websites, and any website will be able to implement OpenSocial and host social applications.

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What Widgets Can You Not Live Without?

dashboard.jpgAs a former die hard Konfabulator user, it took me some time to get used to Dashboard. I fumed when I couldn’t keep widgets on my desktop at all times (without a terminal hack that is), and generally resisted it. But as time has passed (and passed, and passed) with Tiger, Dashboard has become more and more ingrained in my daily life. I find myself hitting F12 a dozen or more times a day, and get frustrated if I’m on a mac that doesn’t have the widgets I’m accustomed to.

So that leads me to ask, what widgets can you not live without? Here are some of mine:

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Ta-da List

With everything I’ve got going on, to-do lists are essential for me. It seems that no matter how on top of things I am, I always forget something. The great folks at 37signals have created Ta-da List, a free online aplication that you can use to create to-do lists. It’s a great app, but sometimes navigating to my lists in the browser is just too much work. Fortunately, Keegan Jones has created the Ta-da Lists Widget to save me the trouble.

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Junior Mint

I love looking the stats for my other blog, and Shaun Inman’s Mint is the tops in my book. But most of the time I’m just interested in page views and unique visits, so looking at the entire Mint interface can be a bit of an overload. Having Junior Mint (you’ll need to login with your Mint credentials to download) on my Dashboard gives me just the info I want. Plus, if your traffic sucks for one day, you can be a bit more positive and look at the big picture.
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Whooppee Cushion Widget

Sometimes when it’s quiet in the office, I have to break the silence. Or better yet, when a nearby project manager is sweating it out on the phone with a displeased client, I need to make the situation more bearable. At those times I crank up my volume, go to Jacob Rath’s Whooppee Cushion Widget, and rip a wonderful fart sound through the office. It may be juvenile, but there’s no replacement for toilet humor!

So what about you guys? What widgets can you not live without?