All posts tagged ‘Yahoo’

File Under: Identity, Social

As Yahoo Adopts Facebook Connect, Questions About OpenID’s Future Loom

Yahoo is integrating Facebook Connect across all of its properties, the company has announced.

A definite timetable hasn’t yet been made public, but Yahoo stated in a blog post Wednesday that it intends to roll Facebook Connect into its properties worldwide, so we should expect the services to be activated incrementally. [Update] Yahoo says, “The integration is expected to begin in the first half of 2010.”

Facebook Connect is the social network’s identity technology for allowing its users to log in to third-party sites using their Facebook credentials. It’s a two-click process — rather than logging in to Yahoo using a Yahoo ID, users can choose to use their Facebook IDs. Facebook asks the user’s permission to log them in to Yahoo on their behalf. The person clicks OK, and they can then roam around Yahoo as a logged-in user.

Once a person’s Facebook account is connected to Yahoo, anything they do there can be published to their Facebook feeds. So, every time they upload new photos to Flickr or share a Yahoo Sports news story, that activity can be posted in their Facebook feed if they choose to allow it.

The person’s friends on Facebook will be able to comment on that activity within Facebook or click through to see the photo or news story on the Yahoo-owned site, as well.

It’s a big boost for Yahoo — the company can now tap into Facebook’s intense social sharing mojo. Other sites which have incorporated Facebook Connect, such as Digg, have seen large boosts to both traffic and new user engagement since opening up the free-flowing conduit for cross-posting that Facebook Connect allows.

It’s also a giant step for Facebook Connect as an identity platform. But while Yahoo’s adoption of Facebook Connect is an enthusiastic endorsement of the identity technology, it raises questions about the future of OpenID.

Facebook Connect is officially coming into its own as a robust, widely-used identity platform, but it’s a proprietary system. The so-called “open ID stack” of identity tools — OpenID, OAuth and their companion technologies, all of which are open source — can accomplish the same thing Facebook Connect does, but it hasn’t seen nearly the same level of adoption as Facebook’s closed technology. It is still beset by usability problems (though it’s showing improvement), and some web properties which have implemented it have only done so partially.

Yahoo already supports OpenID. Other major sites like MySpace, Google and Microsoft support it as well, but OpenID doesn’t offer the tie-in to Facebook, or the ease of usability, that makes Connect so enticing.

Still, there is hope that OpenID, OAuth and Facebook Connect will become interoperable. Facebook supports OpenID logins (with some restrictions), and Facebook has joined the OpenID Foundation, the non-profit charged with furthering adoption of the technology.

Also, Facebook recently hired David Recordon, one of the web’s key proponents of identity technologies and an OpenID board member, to work on incorporating OpenID into the social network. And just a few hours after Yahoo’s announcement, Recordon let it be known that he’s looking for help.

Here’s David’s tweet: “Think you’re an awesome enough engineer to help make Facebook Connect support open standards like OpenID and OAuth? Email me.”

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File Under: APIs, Web Apps

Discover Cool Photo Apps With Flickr’s New ‘App Garden’

Everyone has an app store these days. But of course, for Flickr, the photo sharing site that brought you rainbow vomiting Panda Bears, “store” is far too pedestrian. Which is why Flickr has launched a new App Garden.

The new Flickr App Garden consists of mobile, desktop, and online widgets that interact with Flickr and help you get more out of the site. Flickr already had an extensive list of such apps in its “Services” area, but the new App Garden is considerably simpler and makes find cool Flickr apps much easier.

Unlike the former app directory, which was a simple list, Flickr’s App Garden gives each app its own page where users can leave comments, tag apps and mark them as favorites. The ability to favorite an app means users now have a way to promote their favorites in the App Garden showcase. The app pages also look and feel just like a Flickr photo pages, which makes App Garden feel more like a part of Flickr than the old services directory ever did.

To make it even easier to discover cool apps, Flickr has also included tags on user’s photos which tell you what app the image was uploaded with, and then link back to that app in the new App Garden. If you don’t want others to know how you upload your photos, you can turn off the new tags in your account settings.

The result is that you can stumble across some very cool stuff like Suggestify, an app that allows you to geotag other people’s photos by suggesting a location to the photo’s owner. Following the tag “geotag” then led us to an interesting iPhone app, FlickrUp, which lets you geotag photos uploaded from the iPhone.

So far there’s no way for developers to charge for applications through the Flickr App Garden, though there are some non-free apps listed. Since actually download the apps you want — whether free or not — requires at trip to the developer’s own page, it seems that, at least for now, the App Garden is more a place to browse, not buy apps.

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File Under: Web Basics

Yahoo Improves Its OpenID Support

Yahoo continues to make strides to improve its OpenID implementation. Thursday it announced limited testing for Simple Registration, which supplies profile data once a user logs in with their Yahoo OpenID. Currently it is only testing Plaxo and Jyte.

OpenID sign in screen at Jyte

The experience logging in with Jyte is remarkable. It only takes a few clicks and I’m started using the site. It receives my preferred nickname from Yahoo, so I’m not even asked to fill in anything else.

Plaxo, on the other hand, requires a process that feels like signing up. Requiring info after signing in with OpenID makes moot one of the best things about OpenID for website owners. You can lower the barrier to entry for users by letting them use the site as soon as they arrive from their provider.

To that end, Simple Registration should be able to help solve the double signup issue, assuming sites treat the process like Jyte and not like Plaxo. Other OpenID providers have been sharing user’s profile information, with permission, for some time.

This part of OpenID is important, and it’s good to see one of the big boys on board. Still, it’ll be hard to say OpenID has really made it until I can sign on to Yahoo with any OpenID.

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File Under: Software & Tools

Where is the OpenSocial Revolution?

OpenSocialYahoo points out that OpenSocial is a year old. The collection of APIs is a write-once approach to bringing the Facebook platform to any social website. Developers have not clamoured to develop OpenSocial apps. What’s the deal?

While Google was the instigator of OpenSocial, it found many supporters in fellow Facebook competitors: MySpace, Orkut, Friendster, Hi5, and more.

According to OpenSocial’s site, there are many who have rolled out developer implementations. Still, real life examples a year later seem to be minimal, especially in comparison to the land grab that came with Facebook’s platform launch.

There are a few examples trickling out. LinkedIn announced its platform, but is not making it open to all. Yahoo itself released its “open strategy” platform recently, which contains a piece for OpenSocial.

The revolution, it appears, is slow-moving. In the long term, I think open wins. But for now, it’s hard to beat the momentum and focus of Facebook.

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File Under: Uncategorized

Build an App With Yahoo Pipes

Yahoo PipesYahoo’s data plumbing application, Pipes, lets you turn RSS feeds and output from APIs into data you can use. It’s extremely powerful.

One cool feature I hadn’t noticed is that it has the ability to output to a web service. So, you can set up a page on your own server to accept input from Pipes when the result changes. While I love the RSS output option, if you’re building an app on top of Pipes, you’d need to ping the RSS feed often. The web service feature means always having the latest data available to Pipes.

The Pipes team posted a brief tutorial showing how to use Pipes with AppJet and Google App Engine. In these cases, you don’t even need to have your own server to accept the output–and do something–with Pipes data.

If you’re brand new to Pipes, be sure to check out my Pipes tutorial.

[via Amber Case]

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