March 26, International Herald Tribune

SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo, Google and MySpace said Tuesday that they would create the OpenSocial Foundation to maintain a neutral, community-governed forum for developing applications for social networks.

Google presented its OpenSocial network in November to lure developers who were already creating popular Web applications on social networks like Facebook.

Google, owner of the most popular Internet search engine, said the support of its rival Yahoo for the OpenSocial software would allow developers to put their programs on a broader range of social networking sites.

Teaming with Yahoo gives the alliance the backing of the most visited U.S. Web site. Google and sites like MySpace, the most popular online social network, have sought more programs to appeal to users as they compete for advertising revenue in a market that some analysts estimate could grow 69 percent over the next three years.

Internet users have flocked to social sites where they can keep up with their friends, show pictures, share music and play games. Visitors to Facebook grew fourfold to 100.7 million in January from a year earlier, while uses of MySpace rose 15 percent to 109.3 million in that period, according to ComScore, a research company in Reston, Virginia.

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