Posts Tagged 'Yahoo'

Danger, Will Robinson!

This post from techcrunch today, As Predicted, Yahoo Joins OpenSocial. But Wait, There’s More, has raised concerns for me for the DataPortability project.

At this moment, there are no official published DataPortability standards / blueprints, yes there is a page that lists various open source technologies on DataPortability site but nothing official. And it looks like the 3 big guys (Google, MySpace, Yahoo) have taken the opportunity to rally around Google’s OpenSocial as one data portability standard under the charter of a non-profit foundation OpenSocial Foundation like OpenID.

IMO, this could spell trouble for If sufficient momentum gathers around this initiative with already published standards (and why not, 3 big guys are already on it), it can become the de facto standard quickly rendering yet-to-be-established DataPortability standards inert. The expression that comes to mind “Danger, Will Robinson!”.

A problem for DataPortability to tackle

Today, Michael Arrington from Techcrunch posted an article on “Is OpenID Being Exploited By The Big Internet Companies?” According to the article, 4 big companies Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL claim to support openID but upon closer inspection, all of them have only implemented partial support for openID – technically Google implemented the full openID framework but only for Quoting from the post,

Microsoft has done absolutely nothing, even though Bill Gates announced their support over a year ago. Google has limited its support to Blogger, where it is both an Issuing and Relying party. Yahoo and AOL are Issuing parties only.

To put openID framework into context, again quoting from the post,

There are two ways companies/websites can participate in the OpenID framework – as “issuing parties” or as “relying parties.” Issuing parties make their user accounts OpenID compatible. Relying parties are websites that allow users to sign into their sites with credentials from Issuing parties. Of course, sites can also be both. In fact, if they aren’t both it can be confusing and isn’t a good user experience.

So what can DataPortability do in this case? IMO (and strictly mine), DataPortability could publish a technical and policy blueprint stating that to claim support for a particular standard like openID, a vendor needs to at least implement the relying party feature. From the user perspective, that’s the key value of openID, i.e., get an openID and use it everywhere. It seems like vendors don’t need much incentives to be an openID issuer, there is inherent value to a vendor to provide that feature as is already done by Yahoo and AOL.

If I have my drudders, these are the types of issues that DataPortability should swiftly address and publish standards for, just my $0.02.