The other day I wanted to share an article from the New York Times website to Twitter. I expected the usual behavior I know from other websites: a popup window or direct link to the Twitter homepage with a pre-filled message window. However I was asked to create a New York Times account first. Quite a surprise! But why not, the New York Times is a quality newspaper and I might use some of their other features in the future.
So how does this actually work? Well, first I was greeted with this screen:
After linking my Twitter account – of course, via OAuth – half of the registration form was already filled with information from my Twitter account. In order to complete the registration process I had to provide an email address and password. I didn’t expect to provide these information because I think, login with a third-party account is enough. Email and password shouldn’t be mandatory information in that case.
Anyway, after providing all information my account was ready to use. I also linked my Facebook account later which worked as expected. Actually, I really like the Facebook integration on the New York Times website. It looks like as Facebook was actually a part of the site and not some third-party widget. Really cool. Also I appreciate that the New York Times provides a Social Media FAQ which explains all necessary information.
Is there anything else to do by the end of the year than looking back and review the past year? So let’s have a quick look at what was happening in 2010 regarding the open web. The review is probably incomplete but hopefully I didn’t miss an important event.
Surprising to many people, Vodafone Group Research and Development developed a prototype of a federated social network called OneSocialWeb. It is built on XMPP, which is mostly known as an instant messaging protocol. OneSocialWeb is also using a variety of open web standards like Portable Contacts for profile information, XFN for friends, of course, and Activity Streams for a news feed.
Unfortunately, it’s been rather silent about OneSocialWeb in recent months.
The OExchange protocol for sharing any URL based content with a variety of services has gained some more popularity among web services. It’s supported by such diverse companies as LinkedIn, Digg, Instapaper, Posterous, AddThis, and Yiid. Even German social networks studiVZ (which also adopted XMPP for its messaging system) and Xing started supporting it in 2010.
This is a rather new player in the open web world. OStatus is an open standard for distributed status updates. It leverages standards like Activity Streams, OpenID, the Salmon protocol, Webfinger, and PubSubHubbub. Though as far as I know, it is only implemented on StatusNet sites currently. That’s obvious because it was developed there.
This is probably the open standard which has seen the most widespread adoption in 2010. By now, PubSubHubbub is implemented at WordPress.com, LiveJournal, Posterous, Tumblr, Blogger, Netvibes, Google Reader, Feedburner, and many more. So basically, the entire blogging and RSS/Atom environment is PubSubHubbub enabled. Great!
The DataPortability project released its Portability Policy in June. This policy can help web services making their Terms of Service more understandable in terms of data portability aspects. An early adopter of this policy is startup Shwowp. Hopefully, more companies will adopt this policy; a policy generator is also available.
Windows Live Messenger Connect
Microsoft surprised many people when launching Windows Live Messenger Connect. It’s a set of APIs that enable Windows Messenger and Hotmail users to communicate and connect with users on other sites. Standards used include Portable Contacts, OAuth WRAP, Activity Streams and OData. Many open standards for a company which had been notorious for using proprietary code so far.
XAuth was launched to recognize service providers of authenticated users and then minimize login or sharing options for those users.
AOL implemented Webfinger on its website.
Sadly, Cliqset closed shop.
Google released an OpenID sample store and published relevant documentation for it.