Kevin Marks, vice president of Web services at BT, formerly of Google and Technorati, relayed at the Defrag Conference this afternoon that under the old way, companies, after accumulating a high number of users, would often find they had an extremely high number of users responding they lived in either Beverly Hills or Schenectady, New York. Why? Because they were saying their zip codes were either 90210 or 12345. They were lying - sick of answering page after page of personal data for yet another Web site.
In the years since, thanks to efforts like OpenSocial, we have seen the rise of Web standards that interoperate, letting you pass along your personal information and credentials to new sites without having to create yet another user name and password.
"Over the last two years, we worked out the sanitization of protocols, so it could fetch things from one site to another," Marks said. "In that time, OpenSocial is up to 1 billion users. There are sites all over the world who are using this."
Marks broke down the solution to the real identity problem into four pieces:
- My Friends
- What We Do
- The Flow
"All these standards are empirical standards," Marks said. "We first did this with microformats. We asked what people are doing already, and agreed we would do the same thing."
Now, if you do tell companies you live in Beverly HIlls or Schenectady, New York, there's a greater chance that you really do, and maybe we'll believe you.