In September 2007, Google started thinking about Social APIs. Google Gadgets would be better with access to Social Data ... but that's just Google. It was recognized that this is something that many others would like access to. OpenSocial was announced in November 2007. It's an open standard for developer platforms that has a strong emphasis on "social" data. It's based on gadgets which is now covered by The Open Social Foundation.
In November, many Googlers started working on a Google Code project based on Java and iGoogle. However, there was too much proprietary code. In December, Brian McCallister of Ning created an ASF Proposal for Shindig. It was a rough port of iGoogle but with Ning's PHP code. This turned out to be a great starting point. It immediately got interest from Google, Hi5, MySpace and others. While most committers are still from Google, there are 12 developers that work on it full time and they're adding 2 committers each month. Shindig is a Java/PHP implementation of OpenSocial. Open Campfire is an Apache-licensed .NET implementation that hopes to eventually merge into Shindig.