After losing to Microsoft in its bid for a piece of Facebook, Google has teamed with some of the world's largest social networks to take on the rapidly-growing social networking websites with a new site-independent API, dubbed OpenSocial, that will let software developers to write applications that can be used across participating social networks.

The popularity of these applications has grown dramatically since Facebook opened its platform to outside developers, but the costs of building these applications for every new social network platform available has been a bone of contention to many. Google now hopes to attract many of the same applications thriving on Facebook to its own platform.

Participating social networks include Google’s Orkut, LinkedIn, Hi5, Plaxo, and Friendster as well as business software such as Salesforce.com and Oracle. Google said it would not take a cut from partners using the OpenSocial platform. Developers and the sites they are working with would reach their own agreements on how to share advertising or other revenue from the applications.