The New York Times reports that tomorrow Google and several other major sites will announce a new Web 2.0 applications platform, called OpenSocial, to rival the one announced about a year ago by Facebook. If you and your Web 2.0 team thought you were late for the Facebook party, because thousands of applications are already underway, here’s a new place to go to be first.

Not that I believe you’ve lost out on Facebook, by the way, just because the platform has been there for a year. I don’t. There’s plenty of room for anybody who can offer something people want. The future of this new world is a lot bigger than the past. Still, if you want to start on the day something is announced, then there’s tomorrow’s new thing.

In Google and Friends to Gang Up on Facebook, reporters Miguel Helft and Brad Stone anticipate an announcement tomorrow:

On Thursday, an alliance of companies led by Google plans to begin introducing a common set of standards to allow software developers to write programs for Google’s social network, Orkut, as well as others, including LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning.

The strategy is aimed at one-upping Facebook, which last spring opened its service to outside developers. Since then, more than 5,000 small programs have been built to run on the Facebook site, and some have been adopted by millions of the site’s users. Most of those programs tap into connections among Facebook friends and spread themselves through those connections, as well as through a “news feed” that alerts Facebook users about what their friends are doing.

The announcement is supposed to happen tomorrow night (Thursday Nov. 1) at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The different sites included in the alliance account for about 100 million users between them, roughly double the user base of Facebook. The biggest company besides Google is Oracle. This comes barely a week after Microsoft announced an investment in Facebook.

This doesn’t really mean something like the Oklahoma land rush, the way some people might want to interpret it. Ultimately, in my opinion, it’s not a race to be first. It’s about having something that people want to use. If being first were the only issue, Friendster would have been the winner of this race that is still just getting started. And with this new platform, don’t think that developers of Facebook platform won’t be right front and center to move their offerings, at least some of them, into this new platform quickly. What you want, as a smart startup, is to get in front of millions of users with something they want to use. Application providers will probably be looking to port their applications to this new platform

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.