The Brewery: Universal @s

September 29th, 2010 § 2 comments

Scenario: I upload an image to Flickr and want to link a friend to it.
Problem: She exists on Facebook, not Flickr. There’s a chance she’ll see the image on FB and click through and see what I’ve said, but short of me dropping her a link directly, there’s no way for me to ensure that.

In my utopian web world, I could be on any site and tag anyone who exists on a completely unrelated service. Those who have tweets feeding into Buzz and Facebook will know that tagging someone on Twitter means @username will be linked on Buzz, but not Facebook.

Now, I know this isn’t an easy problem to solve. There are issues around consolidating identity, privacy and permission, dataportability, standards, scale…
One of the ideas swirling in my head is to have a repository of some sort. The repository handles the identity part of the equation. So I can go in there and tell it that ‘dekrazee1‘ and ‘Rai Pratibha‘ and ‘Pratibha Rai‘ are the same people. Maybe even allow it access to my social graph so it knows that if a contact is talking about a Rai, it’s me, not the other Rai. When someone tweets @dekrazee1, before the tweet is pushed to Facebook, the repository can tell it that the tag must be changed to Rai Pratibha to put it in the FB context.
Then all other services plug into it and voila! Universal people tagging! No more linearly restricted web! yaaay!
(Yes, I did say it was utopian… :P)

I’ve only spent a couple of hours thinking about this tonight, so haven’t done much research into it. Is anyone else working on something like this? Is it a solvable issue?

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