Social networking website Bebo has launched an open application platform which allows its 40 million users to run applications featured on its main rival, Facebook.

In a bid to take on Google's competing OpenSocial platform, Bebo has opened an application programming interface (API) that makes it possible for third-party developers to integrate their Facebook applications on the Bebo website.

"Facebook had great success when it allowed third parties to write their own software applications a few months ago," Bebo president Joanna Shields told The Times. "Now, within a few hours, a Facebook application can run on Bebo, which should be good news for software developers".

Some 40 launch partners were announced, including the likes of broadcasters NBC Universal and CBS, online giant Yahoo, music recommendation website Last.fm, clothing retailer The Gap and movie ratings service Flixster.

"By opening up our API and establishing an open developer-friendly platform, we enable developers big and small to create entertaining, engaging applications for our global community - providing another great way for Beboers to communicate, relate and express themselves online," said Michael Birch, CEO and co-founder of Bebo.

Bebo said it will also support Google's OpenSocial platform in "early 2008", making it the first social networking website to be compatible with both the Facebook and OpenSocial platforms.