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Podcast: Open identity in 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007 by Dave Winer.

A picture named mysterioso.gifOn Saturday, after reading Brad Fitzpatrick's piece about Social Graphs, I did a podcast explaining why it's not likely that existing networks will allow users from other networks to use their services.  Permalink to this paragraph

Here's the 1/2 hour podcastPermalink to this paragraph

Dan Farber asked me to summarize, I suppose that's all right. I don't do many podcasts these days. I did this one because I want people to listen. These are relatively complex economic and political issues, and simple thinking won't yield useful answers. Permalink to this paragraph

But I will try to summarize anyway. Permalink to this paragraph

1. Brad is absolutlely right, many people are tired of entering the same relationship information for lots of different social networks. I am one of those people. Maybe you are too. Maintaining this information is even more problematic, that's why we tend to use one "current" social network, and leave a trail of moribund networks behind us.  Permalink to this paragraph

2. The more tired we get, the more demand there will be for a single resource that allows people to establish and maintain these relationships, and use them in a wide variety of different applications. Permalink to this paragraph

3. While Facebook, admirably, takes risks with users' data, the users are a lot more conservative than we techies might like them to be. Wishing it weren't so won't change the way they feel. Permalink to this paragraph

4. There are enormous economic incentives for companies that run social networks to not let users of other networks access their services. Shareholder value is a function of how many users they have, how they are "monetized" and how hard it is to switch. The harder it is to switch, the more money each user is worth. Any exec that did anything to decrease the number of users they control would probably be fired. So anything that depends on this isn't very likely to happen, in existing networks. Permalink to this paragraph

5. However, a network that, from Day One, allows users of other networks to participate, and allows developers to access user's data, with the user's permission, but without permission from the network, may become the www of open identity systems. As much as it is considered politically incorrect in the tech world to say this, don't bet on OpenID being that network. You would have gotten roasted in 1991 for saying OpenDoc wasn't the future, but it wasn't. For the same reasons OpenID isn't. Permalink to this paragraph

Now if you want to understand why all these things are true, give me 1/2 hour of your time, listen to the podcast. Take it for a walk, or take it with you on your commute. If you're interested in the future of web technology, I think it'll be worth the time.  Permalink to this paragraph

Adriana Lukas: Users do not stand stillPermalink to this paragraph

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