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As you will know, I’ve been working with MySpace for a number of months on a number of initiatives to help them evolve into a far more open platform.

Following on from the launch of the developer platform and REST APIs, I’m really excited to announce that MySpace has joined the DataPortability Initiative. In addition MySpace has also announced it’s first implementation in this area, which will making it’s profile data available for those to consume on other websites. From the press release:

“MySpace … will be allowing users to dynamically share the content and data of their choosing including: (1) Publicly available basic profile information, (2) MySpace photos, (3) MySpaceTV videos, and (4) friend networks. Integration of the Data Availability project will roll to MySpace users and participating Websites in the coming weeks.”

MySpace’s full press release is on Alley Insider. DataPortability’s press release is here.

Whilst a number of high-profile launch partners have been announced (Yahoo!, eBay and Twitter), it’s worth point out that access to this project will be available to everyone who agrees to the T’s & C’s.

(UPDATE: A number of people are speculating that this is a biz-dev thing only for agreed partners and that it may not be using agreed standards, etc(eg here). I just want to be really clear: this is NOT A BIZ DEV DEAL, this is open to everyone. The launch partners are simple there to demonstrate the complete value at both ends and help MySpace test the implementation. And as mentioned in the press release, this is all using oAuth for authentication and will be working with DataPortability on standards.)

As a co-founder of the DataPortability Initiative I’m thrilled to be a part of this project and able to help guide it from the inside.

Caroline McCarthy of News.com has described this as “a huge deal” and of course I agree. In the media call she asked MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe whether Facebook would be able to participated and he responded:

“This project is open to any site out there that wants to work with us so we’re happy to work with Facebook if they want to join up with us on this project.”

This is not the same MySpace I took on as a client 6 months ago. Significant and exciting things are happening at MySpace and it’s great to be a part of it.

If you have comments or ideas and suggestions for things you want to see at MySpace, please let me know: bmetcalfe {at} myspace {dot} com

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Congratulations to Peter Nixey and Immad Akhund – two friends and fellow Brits – who’ve just publicly launched their Y-Combinator backed startup ClickPass (TechCrunch coverage here).

Sofia and I have been following their progress for some month, including sneak peeks and early uses of the product. And I have to say it really brings the benefits of OpenID to the mainstream – opening up all sorts of new possibilities.

Click pass is essentially made up of two constituent parts.

Firstly, the company offers a simple-yet-slick design patten for the federated authentication of the user. What I like about the design is that not only do ClickPass help their users login to a given site with OpenID, but they have also baked in simple support for a number of other popular OpenID providers too – such as AOL, WordPress and LiveJournal (where it all began).

Rather than having to remember their full OpenID URL at either ClickPass or any of these other providers, the user simply has to enter their username and the ClickPass login widget automatically constructs the correct login url and sends the user on their way to authenticate at their chosen provider’s authentication home page.

Great stuff.

As a proponent of OpenID I really want to give props to Peter and Immad for taking the opportunity to make it easy for everyone regardless of whether they use ClickPass to authenticate or not.

The second aspect of the service is a dashboard style interface that reflects the various sites the user holds an OpenID relationship with. This creates an ideal home page opportunity as it’s so easy to dive straight into the sites you use.

There’s also a great monetization opportunity of using the interface to take advertising on this page to the next level. Rather than simply promoting the front page of their site, with the permission of the user an advertiser could create an account for their site upon the initial click through from the advert – using the OpenID credentials already authenticated on ClickPass.

This allows the site to immediately offer full utility to the user rather than having to encourage them to ‘cross the chasm’ and create an account (having already had to encourage them just to click on the advert).

I may be a little biased, as Peter and Immad are friends, but I really do think this is the best implementation of OpenID out there right now for ‘regular users’. I do think they need to bake in more anti-phishing mechanisms – such as displaying photos, key phrases or some other ‘secret’ upon authentication. But these are easily done and I’m sure this is something they are both looking at.

Well done boys, good work!

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(Ben Metcalfe is a founding member of the DataPortability Workgroup – which promotes and encourages the implementation of open-standards and open-access to data using technologies such a OpenID, OAuth, Microformats, APML and more)

DataPortability.org logo

Over at DataPortability.org, we’ve been sitting on some BIG news for the passed few days that I can finally blog about…

Google, Facebook and Plaxo have joined the Data Portability Workgroup.

It’s a massive and exciting breakthrough that we’re thrilled about. Data Portability is about true interoperability and data exchange (both between social networks and other apps we use). It’s breathtaking to see these companies sign up and align themselves with that ideal.

I’m also stoked to have some amazing people represent each of these companies on the group. Joseph Smarr will represent Plaxo (who I also work with on the OpenSocial committee), Brad Fitzpatrick will represent Google (a major coup seeing as he helped create OpenID ) and Benjamin Ling will represent Facebook (Benjamin is also ex-Google).

I’m on-site at MySpace today so can’t blog further reaction right now, but reaction can be found from Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/WriteWeb and Duncan Riley at TechCrunch.

You can also join the public Google Group for Data Portability.

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