Saturday, December 29, 2007

Externalizing user profile data... and the social graph

Efforts like Mozilla's Weave and OpenID make for a compelling option to finally externalize a user's complete profile. Imagine being able to define (in a secure, encrypted way of course):
  • Name, Email, et al basic stats
just once and then use a single login to access multiple sites. The concept is definitely nothing new: companies have done it for a while on their Intranets using various SSO solutions.

Obviously, this gets a bit trickier when propagated outside the firewall and across multiple domains. Who "owns" the profile data? Where is it stored (and how)? Weave is just now getting launched, but if they can nail in reality the concept as documented:

This would provide key benefits for us all -- and probably help drive further adoption of Firefox. In addition, I think it's possible to incorporate storage of social graph elements here. Then things will get interesting as "switching costs" are removed. Any sites will have to live or die based on the features they provide, and not just because our data (e.g. list of friends) is stored there.

Feasibility on this remains to be seen, but if things head in this direction it could fundamentally change the dynamics for the Web 2.0 market.

Update on Tuesday, 1/1:

I should have figured that somebody else had already given this much more pondering... Brad Fitzpatrick's Thoughts on the Social Graph is a MUST READ!!!

And Ujwal Tickoo reconfirms the idea

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