October 22, 2008

Joseph rated “New Netflix / Pulse Integration” 5 stars

Good news for my fellow Netflix fans: you can now easily share your Netflix ratings as a feed in Pulse! As always, you can choose whether to share your ratings with your family, friends, business contacts, and/or within custom groups, and you’ll start seeing ratings from people you know if they share them with you. Opinions on movies and TV shows are a common and natural starting point for discussions, so we expect to see long and heated comment threads starting from these shared reviews. And the best part is, it’s so easy to rate movies as part of being a Netflix subscriber that you’ll be able to start these discussions just by hooking up the tools you already use–no need to re-rate the movies in Plaxo or anywhere else, just connect your Netflix account. That’s the power of giving users control over their data–everybody wins here. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, go connect your Netflix account now!

Netflix rating shared inside my Pulse stream.

Not only am I excited about this integration because I love Netflix and love talking about movies with my friends, but I think it’s a great example of how you can use Pulse to share non-public data with a trusted subset of the people you know. My ratings aren’t public like a lot of web 2.0 content we aggregate–and I don’t really want everyone in the world to see them–but I definitely want to share them with people I’m close to, whether or not they use Netflix themselves. Traditionally that’s been hard to do, and if you think about it, there’s a ton of interesting data about my life and what I’m up to that fits this pattern: what books I’m reading, where I’m traveling, what products I’m buying, and so on. Public data is really only the tip of the iceberg, but without a rich social graph and a set of protocols for sharing non-public data between trusted services, there’s been no good way to share this data just with the people you want. But now that we have the right building blocks, and mainstream services are starting to use them, I expect a lot more of this type of rich, non-public sharing to start taking place.
Which brings me to the third reason I’m so excited about this integration–and the reason we were able to build and release it literally within a few weeks of Netflix releasing their API–Netflix chose to build it with existing, open standards. Specifically, they’re using OAuth to let users grant Plaxo access to their non-public data, and they’re using protected ATOM feeds for the ratings (along with RESTful APIs for getting additional data). Since Plaxo already knows how to crawl ATOM feeds, and we already know how to take users through the OAuth flow, it was trivial for us for hook this all up (most of the work was done in a single afternoon of hacking!). Better yet–using OAuth makes the experience of connecting Netflix and Plaxo much easier (and more secure) for users. You just click “Connect my Netflix account”, sign into Netflix inside their popup if needed (Plaxo never sees your Netflix password), and grant Plaxo permission to access your private data. Then presto, you’re all done. Nothing to type in, and no copying and pasting cryptic URLs like some services require as a hacky way of sharing non-public data. If you’re one of those sites–please provide an OAuth interface, your users and partners will thank you! :)

Step 1: Click “Connect my Netflix account”.

Step 2: Grant Plaxo access in the Netflix popup.

Step 3: You’re connected! Choose whom to share your ratings with.

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About the Author

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Redgee Capili

General Manager, Plaxo.com

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