OpenID is a great idea as it moves us closer to not having to remember a million user id's and passwords. Way back in February of this year Kevin Rose of Digg.com announced that Digg would be supporting OpenID later this year (click here to read about the original announcement). At the time I was very excited, but unfortunately it doesn't look like we will be seeing it this year (unless one of you readers knows something that I don't).
This got me looking around at various popular social networks and web applications and the only major site that I have found that allows for OpenID login is DZone (which make since as it is a social network for developers). As for the other major social networks (such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook), unfortunately there has been no adoption of OpenID.
Hopefully early next year we will see Digg.com put OpenID functionality on the site. This would make it the largest Social network (and one of the top sites on the internet, according to Alexa it is currently ranked 117) to place OpenID functionality on the site. Once this is done hopefully many more sites like MySpace and GMail will follow suite and the web will start to become a place where we can always have a single sign on (except perhaps on Microsoft affiliated sites). Well, I can always hope at least.
Google and Yahoo reportedly have a similar idea to compete with MySpace and Facebook. The idea is to turn your email account into a social network. This seams to be a great idea since people go into their email to connect to other people.
Apparently they will be combining their email along with their personal pages to create the social network. Since e-mail already has contacts that would act as friends and the personal pages would have an added public version to create the effect of a home page (like those in MySpace or Facebook) it seems to be a perfect match.
The following is an excerpt from an article on Bits.
Web-based e-mail systems already contain much of what Facebook calls the social graph — the connections between people. That’s why the social networks offer to import the e-mail address books of new users to jump-start their list of friends. Yahoo and Google realize that they have this information and can use it to build their own services that connect people to their contacts.
I don’t have a lot of detail from Google, but I’ve heard from several executives that this is their plan. When I talked recently with Joe Kraus, who runs Google’s OpenSocial project, he said: “We believe there are opportunities with iGoogle to make it more social.” And when I pressed him about the relationship between the social aspects of iGoogle and Gmail versus Orkut or some other social network, he said, “It is much easier to extend an existing habit than to create a brand.”
Brad Garlinghouse, who runs the communication and community products for Yahoo, was a lot more forthcoming. He didn’t-have dates or specific product details either. But he did say that Yahoo was working on what he called “Inbox 2.0.”
This has several features. First, the e-mail service is made more personal because it displays messages more prominently from people who are more important to you. Yahoo is testing a method that can automatically determine the strength of your relationship to someone by how often you exchange e-mail and instant messages with him or her.
“The inbox you have today is based on what people send you, not what you want to see,” Mr. Garlinghouse said. “We can say, here are the messages from the people you care about most.
Yahoo Mail will also be extended to display other information about your friends as well. This can be a link to a profile page, and also what Yahoo calls “vitality” –- updated information much like the news feed on Facebook. There could also be simple features that are common on social networks, like displaying a list of friends whose birthdays are coming up.
“The exciting part is that a lot of this information already exists on our network, but it’s dormant,” Mr. Garlinghouse said.
What Yahoo is missing in this vision is a personal profile, where users express their interests and personality to others. Yahoo, of course, has had many different takes on this over the years: its member directory, Geocities, Yahoo 360. It recently started Yahoo Mash. But none of these is quite right, Mr. Garlinghouse said. Mash is simply an experiment, not a product being readied for mass promotion.
There will be some sort of profile system attached to Inbox 2.0, he said. For people who use a lot of Yahoo services, this profile could be quite rich even at the beginning, as it can draw on activity on Yahoo Music, Yahoo Shopping and so on.
“If I get an e-mail from Saul Hansell, I should be able to click on his name and see his profile,” Mr. Garlinghouse said. “The profile page is where you can expose what you want people to know about you.
In this vision, people have two pages: a profile they show to others and a personal page on which they see information from their friends as well as anything else they want, like weather or headlines. That’s different from MySpace, which combines all this into one page.
Already My Yahoo and iGoogle are increasingly collections of widgets that hold content and applications from multiple sources, some of them already social, like e-mail and feeds from social sites like Flickr. But much more is coming.
This approach has a lot of potential and a few pitfalls. To start with, everyone who joins Facebook understands that what they do on the site is about sharing information with friends and sometimes strangers. People who use Yahoo Mail, or just exchange messages with someone using a Yahoo Mail account, have no such expectations. So the company will have to be very careful in how it explains what it is doing and ask for permission in the right places.
“This isn’t a separate product,” Mr. Garlinghouse said. “This is an integration that has to be seamless to the user.”
Read the full article here.
I could see the Yahoo social network incorporating Flickr, del.icio.us and Yahoo Instant Messanger. While Google could perhaps incorporate YouTube. Depending on how much integration happens with other services owned by the companies could depend on exactly how quickly the networks could become huge. If each company where to really integrate all of the social networking related services that they own their would be a huge danger of making a network that has no targeted audience. It will be interesting to see what they create.
Since both companies already have so many users of their services the social networks would instantly have a number that would make them among the largest. It will be interesting to see how well the integration of the various services will be. If it is done well these could quickly become to the top two social networks.