Where Did I Leave My Keys?

There’s an interesting storm a-brewing regarding who will own the key to your online identity.  In the last couple of days, both Facebook and Google have made announcements where their respective online ID systems can be now used to log into other websites.  (For example, you could use your Facebook login to log in to NYTimes.com, or you could use your Google login as the key to your eBay account, hypothetically speaking.)

A bit of context, then a poll at the bottom.

  • Mashable on Facebook:"Facebook Connect is now open for business,
    allowing any developer to let users login to their websites using their
    Facebook credentials. Additionally, other key Facebook features, like
    your friends list, can now be integrated into third-party applications,
    which can in turn send data back into Facebook and the News Feed."
  • Mashable on Google: "Google Friend Connect, the company’s identity management offering for developers, is now
    available for anyone to signup without waiting to be whitelisted.
    Similar to Facebook Connect and MySpace Data Availability, the basic
    premise is that you can login with your Google (or Yahoo, AIM, OpenID)
    credentials on third-party applications without signing up for a
    separate account."
  • TechCrunch on Facebook: "Not an hour after Google announced the general availability
    of Friend Connect, Facebook is doing the same for its competing
    Facebook Connect service. Now any third party website that wants to
    pull personal data about visitors from Facebook – and send back
    activity reports to their news feeds – can do so by first filling out a
    self-service application"
  • TechCrunch on Google: "The battle over who will control
    access to your online identity is heating up. In the wake of more and
    more partners finally starting to take a shine to Facebook’s competing
    FB Connect (which we just implemented on Techcrunch), Google’s Friend Connect
    is now in an open beta. Before it was in a limited preview release, but
    now any website can add Google Friend Connect as a login option."

In addition to Facebook and Google, a project called OpenID is also adressing similar issues. [UPDATE:  Kevin Marks from Google noted that, for clarity, Friend Connect can accept either a Google ID or an OpenID.  So, if you have OpenID, you can use Friend Connect as well.]

(If you can’t see the poll, please click here to participate.)

I’ll let this run for a bit, and share the responses at the end of the week.  If you have thoughts on this sort of "linking of identities" across sites, leave them in the comments.  Very interested in hearing what folks think about this.

photo: grwal

Take Change.gov With You Anywhere

You can take it with you…Change.gov is now iPhone, mobile and widget-enabled.  (You can even put it on your iGoogle start page.)

Yesterday, a post appeared on Change.gov, the website of the Obama administration’s transition team.

"President-elect Obama has championed the creation of a more open, transparent, and participatory government.  To that end, Change.gov adopted a new copyright policy: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License:
this weekend. In an effort to create a vibrant and open public
conversation about the Obama-Biden Transition Project, all website
content now falls under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

‘Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Content
includes all materials posted by the Obama-Biden Transition project.
Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable,
royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to
Change.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.’

Copyright Professor and blogger James Grimmelmann explains what this means:

‘Talk about doing the right thing. Now the collaborative
power of Change.gov isn’t limited by what the transition team itself is
able to enable. Anyone can take the policy points and discussions from
the site and create their own remix or branch of it. This is a very
good sign of the transition team’s attitude towards their task. It’s
also a good license choice. Attribution 3.0 is the Barack Obama of CC
licenses: modern, dignified, generous, and tolerant.’

Professor Lawrence Lessig
also commented on his blog, noting the complexity of working through
such issues: “This is great news about a subject that’s harder than it

This opening up of the content on Change.gov has the stated intent that "anyone can take the policy points and discussions from the site and create their own remix or branch of it."  Here’s what a few other folks had to say:

  • Politico – "The Obama transition made a subtle, but dramatic, change to its
    intellectual property licensing yesterday, and the groups pushing for
    freer use of content on the Internet are releasing a letter this morning requesting two more changes to the way the transition is handling its online content."
  • ReadWriteWeb – "This act of support for progressive intellectual property policy is big news, but it also makes us wonder – what’s next?"
  • Joi Ito – "I know the transition team is super-busy right now with very important
    things and I’m very thankful that they had the time and the will to pay
    attention to this kind of important detail."

Thanks to this important step by the administration, we were able to create both mobile and widget versions of the site using Cerado Ventana.

IPhone version (You can get the iPhone and other mobile versions here)


Widget version (You can get the widget here)


What does this mean?  It means the following:

When (technology + information + inspiration) are allowed to work together, astounding things can happen in the blink of an eye. Innovation can happen, anywhere, at near-instantaneous speed.

Thank you again to the Obama administration for opening up Change.gov with Creative Commons to make this possible, and thanks to everyone here on the team.  You have been building killer technology, and have enabled us to create this new conduit for citizens and government to connect.