I just read about the Open Social Web API: it would seem that a bunch of the silos of the world are about to begin using a common API to talk to their apps (and maybe each other?) about, among other things, previously sequestered identities and relationships.
I’m monstrously curious about if and/or how identities will be mapped between “containers”. I’m curious about the whole thing, in fact, as both a user of such services and as an identity control freak. I can’t wait to see what mechanisms are used, and whether something with some kind of identity & privacy cachet was tapped.
Will I like what I find? This quote from Brian Oberkirch makes me wonder:
Finally, I’ve seen no mention of the fact that every bit moved through these APIs will be mapped via Gdata into a great Google graph of social interaction. A version of Brad Fitzpatrick’s master graph, but part of the Googleverse.
Call me crazy, but isn’t a “master social graph” without any reference to consent or control from the user really just internet-scale involuntary identity aggregation? I don’t care whether the “social graph” is in fashion or not, I sure as hell hope that I can opt out if I so choose. I imagine that both the terms of service and privacy agreements for any partner service involved in the Open Social API will have to to change, and I shall be very interested to see what exactly those changes will be.
No matter what, this API is still a critical first step. Inertia is being overcome with respect to opening up user community silos. The what is good – but all of us scrappy identity and privacy folks had better hasten to examine the how, too.