July 17, 2007

Plaxo is now OpenID and microformats enabled

In my first act as Chief Platform Architect for Plaxo, I have integrated two open standards into Plaxo that I care deeply about: OpenID and microformats. They’re both live now, and we’ve issued a press release to help fan the flames. OpenID will let anyone sign up for Plaxo without having to create a separate Plaxo-specific password or fill out their account info again. Microformats lets you share your public profile and public calendar data in an open, machine-readbale way. Both standards help you the user maintain control over your identity and personal information and take it with you wherever you go.
I’m really greatful to have been a part of these passionate communities of user advocates over the past year or so. In both cases, my involvement started when someone personally reached out to me to say “hey, Plaxo should get involved with these emerging standards”. In the case of OpenID, it was Kaliya Hamlin, who has done wonders to catalyze and organize the various user-centric identity efforts out there. In the case of microformats, it was Chris Messina, who of his own accord took the train down to Plaxo from SF to explain what microformats were and why we should care.
To both of you, and the countless others that I’ve talked to since then, let me say thank you. You reached me. I completely share the vision of an open social web in which users are in control of their data and they can use it on any web site they come to or from. Plaxo gets it too, and our mission is clear: to knock down every wall we find and free your data until nobody owns who you know except you. Our weapons of choice are continued and expanded support of open standards like these, as well as the know-how and resources to get at your data in and out of tight spots that might otherwise be closed to you. We’ve already done it for Outlook, Mac, Thunderbird, AOL, Yahoo, Google, LinkedIn, mobile phones, and probably a few more, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.
And to our users: tell us how we can do more. What sites and tools and services do you use where being able to keep your updated contact info and contact list would make your lives better? Where are your friends and colleagues generating cool content online that you want to keep up with? We can help. That’s what we do. And we’d like to do it a whole lot more.
Speaking of which, while I was implementing OpenID support for Plaxo, I took copious notes and wrote them up in a step-by-step recipe guide so any other existing web site with users would have an easy way to do the same. Now you have no excuse not to OpenID-enable your site–it’s quick and straightforward, and a sign of respect and trust to your users. So get to it, and let me know how I can help!
–Joseph Smarr, Chief Platform Architect

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Redgee Capili

General Manager, Plaxo.com

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  • http://www.ctomkins.co.uk Chris Tomkins

    Is there any way as an existing Plaxo user I can choose to migrate to using OpenID as my sign in mechanism?

  • http://josephsmarr.com Joseph Smarr

    Chris-absolutely! Just sign up with your OpenID and when it drops you into the registration flow, click “Already a Plaxo member? Attach your OpenID”. Then sign in with your existing Plaxo credentials and it will attach the OpenID to your account. Then you can sign in with that OpenlD from then on.
    Alternatively, you can sign in and go to your account settings and click “Manage your OpenIDs” and click to attach a new OpenID.
    Thanks for the note! js

  • http://www.ctomkins.co.uk Chris Tomkins

    Great thanks :)

  • http://janrain.com/blog/2007/07/19/plaxo-now-supports-openid Kevin Fox

    This is great news! I have gone ahead and added Plaxo to our OpenID site directory. Have you added Plaxo to OpenIDDirectory.com yet?

  • http://steven.openid.org Steven Livingstone

    Hi Chris – i’m maybe missing something but on the main site and when in installed the app into Outlook i only see Email and AIM as options to sign in.
    Where can i use my OpenID login?

  • http://steven.openid.org Steven Livingstone

    Me again :) I found it on one page (not sure why i don’t see it on the other logins?) – but i can’t seem to log in using it. Any idea what the error is?
    My openid is steven.openid.org

  • http://www.injelea.de/plog Frank Hamm

    I just used the first method to successfully attach my OpenID. But I can’t see any link “Manage your OpenIDs” in my account settings (using German language) in the preview.
    Probably you could provide a screenshot?

  • http://josephsmarr.com Joseph Smarr

    Frank, we haven’t gotten the link in Plaxo 3.0 translated yet. In the meantime, you can either switch to English or click on “Plaxo classic” at the top and then “My account” and you’ll find a link in the first section. Thanks for the note! js

  • http://www.injelea.de/plog Frank Hamm

    Joseph, thanks. Meanwhile I found this direct link https://preview.plaxo.com/openid?actionType=list
    I guess it’s from Plaxo 2.0 and not a permalink but so far it works when I’m logged in :-)

  • http://www.saltedlolly.com Olly S

    Joseph, where are the microformat items visible? I am using the Operator extension for Firefox but it doesn’t seem to find any of them? Also, I say you have a joseph.myplaxo.com for your public profile. Can we get one of these?

  • http://josephsmarr.com Joseph Smarr

    Olly-we have hCard on the public profile pages (like joseph.myplaxo.com) and hCal on the public and shared calendar pages. In both cases, you can click on Settings in Plaxo 3.0 and give yourself a nickname (mine is “Joseph”) and then you’ll have your own profile page. You can then share calendars if you like by clicking on your list of calendars and clicking “Share & Manage”. Enjoy! js

  • hauke

    Doesn’t work with AOL-OpenID…

  • Fred Hart

    I can’t seem to attach an openid. I keep getting a message saying that plaxo was unable to verify my openid after being redirected to several of my openid providers. Any ideas?

  • http://josephsmarr.com Joseph Smarr

    Fred-I’ve heard some reports of similar problems from others, though it often seems to be intermittent. Would you mind sending me the OpenID you’re using so I can take a look in our logs and see what’s going wrong? Thanks! js

  • http://josephsmarr.com Joseph Smarr

    FYI, I just pushed a patch to our OpenID support that should fix all of the people who have been having trouble using their OpenIDs with Plaxo. So if you were having trouble, please try again and let me know if it’s still not working. Thanks for the reports, and keep them coming! js

  • http://https://plaxo.comcast.net/add_me?u=38655490950&v0=1570685&k0=3884353478 Robert Mark White

    I want to know if you are going to add another couple microformats to plaxo. I would like to see microid added to my contact information page. So i can claim it on claimid. I love the changes so far but do not stop now add xfn to our contacts so we can make them portable or so they can be referenced back to plaxo.

  • http://josephsmarr.com Joseph Smarr

    Yeah, microid and xfn both make a ton of sense for us to implement, and we probably will. :) The only issue is that for many people their address book is very private, so we can’t just have everyone throw up a publicly readable web page with xfn links. But some middle-ground where you authenticate or get a secret URL with keys in it that you can take to other sites to wire up relationships is something we’d love to do.
    Any thoughts on how exactly you’d like to see that work?
    Thanks, js

  • Robert Mark White

    OAuth or SAMLv2.0 or both.