OpenID, Diso and Vidoop – there, that covers it

[UPDATE:  In my note about Vidoop, I inferred that they had made a deal with AOL; in fact, they are just one of several “white-listed” OpenID providers.  I’ve fixed the language, and pointed to where I got that mistaken impression.  Thanks, Sam, again, for the pointer.]

I attended part of the OpenID camp this weekend, because I’ve been interested in single sign-on for a while, as the first step in the fight against dozens of silos of walled social networks. Here’s a brief report back, because the first rule of any camp is to Talk About (Bar/OpenID/Whatever)Camp:

  • Since I’m not a coder and the acronym soup was over my head, I jumped in on the conversation about recommendations for OpenID providers. At it’s most basic, a provider will offer a URL which is the basis against which other sites will verify your registration and log-in information (a good primer screencast is here). People can make their own OpenID servers with the addition of just a little HTML code; other sites offer a full OpenID identity management (like myOpenID). Right now, an end site can display one of several different personas you create, which can contain varying degrees of information – but the personas are either all-on or all-off. I.e. if you want to display little info, you set up a very simple persona; if you want to share more, you set up a more complete persona. But either one you choose will display all the information in that persona to whoever visits the URL. Chris Allen (who pointed me to a good dissection of privacy he had written) suggested that in addition to offering the ability to have different personas on an OpenID server, it should also allow different levels of authorized information based on permissions levels, minimally a type of “if I show you myOpenID, you show me yourOpenID.” In the subsequent Diso discussion (see below) Chris M. also suggested that OpenID providers offer the identity information in hcard / microformat (natch) so it can be parsed by a wider range of subsequent tools for Diso purposes. (Standards and format flame wars over there, please – I’m just a messenger…)
  • Check out There, I said it. Vidoop is a new OpenID provider, and they helped sponsor this camp (as well as SixDegrees and others). OK, so I have to thank Sam from Vidoop for putting up with my noob questions and explaining some of the more tricky use cases for me. And Vidoop has one (of several) interesting business model(s) – they don’t use passwords for your account login; instead, it’s categories of images that you choose as your recognizable set. For hosted services (for example, AOL), the other images that are not part of your set can be branded – AOL, or whatever. Yes, that makes no sense until you set up an account and see how it works – then read their blog post.
  • I got to sit in on a bit of Chris Messina’s DiSo description. Thank god, because the Google page doesn’t really capture it in any succinct fashion (to be honest, Chris took 15-20 minutes before we got the full picture). In essence, it’s a way of using open source tools and standards (like WordPress) to build social networks that are not tied to a particular platform (like, uh, Facebook?). There’s a lot of great potential there, as well as a lot of work to even just get different services to communicate – much less be plug and play to the average use. But it’s great to see my personal peeve (a rant from a year and a half ago) of walled-garden social networks confirmed by people far smarter than me.

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4 Responses to “OpenID, Diso and Vidoop – there, that covers it”

  1. 1 Chris Messina January 15, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Thanks for the write-up! I’d love your feedback on how to improve the description of DiSo. Admittedly we’d prefer to keep it semi-obscure for now since the project is still young and we don’t want folks to download it and have a bad experience, but clarity is still important! 😉

  2. 2 smokinggoat January 17, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Hey Chris – “expaining” how this kind of thing works for users is always the biggest challenge for these new technologies. (Un)fortunately, I believe the best way of transmitting the How-To of this stuff is either a) in person, or b) in a screencast. I remember when you broke open my understanding of microformats – not how to create them, but how to _use_ them – by scraping a calendar event and dragging it to iCal. *That* kind of demo works… 🙂

  1. 1 I went to OpenID Camp, and all you got was a set of links « PariSoMa Trackback on January 17, 2008 at 12:28 pm
  2. 2 I went to OpenID Camp, and all you got was a set of links | Parisoma Innovation Loft Trackback on February 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm
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