back to article OpenSocial, OpenID, and Google Gears: Three technologies for history's dustbin

Hey, does anybody remember Google's OpenSocial? Come on, it hasn't even been a year since it was announced. OpenSocial was supposed to unify social network application developers behind one common API. Revolutionary, innovative, all that shit. Still nothing? Ah, okay. What about OpenID, the best damned federated authentication …

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Coat

Easy on the sarcasm there, lad!

You make it sound like Google is actually worth pissing and moaning about.

PS: You forgot to include Google Maps among the Goo-successes.

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Pirate

Relevant to my interests

In before Persai

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Spot on

Finally... a reporter who doesn't have a virtual orgasm over everything that Google does. It is pretty amusing to watch a search and ad company trying to be a software company. They may as well save their development dollars and do an all out purchase of Adobe or Apple or something if they wanted to be a software company. In the meantime, they are just being a laughing stock.

The best things they've 'developed' are the things that they bought. Maps, World, Streetview, Youtube, good purchases. Chrome, Orkut (??) and OpenSocial all seem like the workings of the short fat ugly kid wanting to be picked to play on the soccer team. Get a clue kid, you're short fat and ugly and we don't like you. Give us your lunch money though...

Everyone has their vices - Microsoft hires a funnyman to try and look funny and Google make software to try and look like a software company. Stick to what you know best I say. :)

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Go

You're right..

Openid is way too complicated for you grandpa. It's easier to have to sign up on each page you want to post in, like here, instead of using a single ID. But seeing the futuristic 2.0, no, 2.5! style of this cheap 90'-moderated-comment-add-on it isn't a surprise at all that you feel distant to new technologies..

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Boffin

The point of OpenID was for you to be able to use one account across many web services??

And who does this benefit, beside people in the Identity Theft business?

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Mr Garisson

The amount of 'shit' in this article brings us close to a rousing rendition of 'Shitty Shitty Fag Fag' with an even closer chance of angering the Knights defending our honour.

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Go

Chrome

If Chrome takes off, it will be because MS forgot to participate in the JavaScript performance war and they lose the developers. It'll be a sad day when IE on Windows run slower than MobileSafari on an iPhone for most JS pages.

The 30x-60x speedup of the JS engines in the last half-year makes things that were unreasonably slow before doable on the web now. That kind of performance increase opens up new app possibilities.

Safari and Chrome and Firefox are all in this hunt, and Opera is still several times faster than IE, but several of the new JS engines are open source, so MS could copy them quickly if they realize they've been caught flat-footed. The next major release of all the browsers will be interesting.

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Rants for the Dustbin

A few weeks into your reg gig and the rants are getting pretty thin indeed...

* OpenSocial -Yes, it's started with JavaScript web apps, as intended.. and we all know how much you hate Javascript. In version 0.8 you'll find a decent REST interface that allows you to build cool mobile and desktop apps. OpenSocial 0.8 is also the basis for Portable Contacts, which will make life a ton better for people sick and tired of dealing with vCard/hCard warts. (Full disclosure we use OpenSocial at hi5 in a big way)

* OpenID is progressing and yes, lots of the web UIs suck. Check out http://www.idselector.com/ to see where things are headed. Oh and rattling off a hodgepodge of authentication/authorization standards and technology makes you sound stupid. Mentioning Kerberos in a paragraph complaining about the complexity of OpenID is asinine.

* And the whine about Gears is lame too. Did you forget that Gears makes offline apps possible and influenced the HTML5 in a very good way? Oh and Gears has been around what? A year? When Flash was a year old we were using IE4 and NS3 and Windows 98 was just around the corner.. And don't bother looking for threads in Flash.. They don't exist..

anyway, hope the next rant is better...

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Pirate

How About PayPalPoke

So we can b1tch-slap those admin cnuts who keep stealing our money!!!

(Just lost another £10 via Paypal "We have sent you 3 emails warning you"- b0ll0ks they have!!).

I have now cut all economic ties with this sh1tty company.

Talk like a pirate Day?? I always talk like a Pirate!! ARRGH!!

(How do Buccaneers keep fit??

They do Pi-rartaes !!).

Paypal - pirates of the open web.

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Anonymous Coward

Google are the biggest brand

but they will be suffering all the problems of a big company now.

It doesn't matter how many of the brightest you hire, they all get dragged down to the level of the intern in the company, once the size gets beyond a certain number.

In fact it could be said that Google stifles innovation, they would all be out there creating their own projects, but it is good place for the wage slaves, and the money is not too shabby.

It is ads that keep Google rolling, and their infrastructure is pretty solid, all these projects are just sidelines to their main goal, which is for you to keep google as your homepage.

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@Mr Wurst

Who cares if it's a complicated piece of crap that's awkward to use and no-one wants, my real problem with OpenID (and things like it) is that it breaks one of my major engineering rules of thumb - specifically the "don't put all your eggs in one basket" rule. As a result of this, it also falls foul of one of my business management rules of thumb - "if a particular egg is important to your business, don't put it in _someone else's_ basket".

I couldn't care less if I have to remember half a dozen passwords or use half a dozen different authentication mechanisms if it means that, in the unfortunate event of one of them being compromised, it doesn't immediately compromise all of the others. Particularly if we're talking about something important involving sensitive confidential or financial information. I don't even care if I'm spending time and money doing my own version of something that someone else has already done, so long as I have sound technical (or commercial) reasons for doing so.

None of which is rocket science, but - even as an ex-nerd myself - I find myself increasingly despairing when young software engineers and system designers get so hung up on some over-hyped bit of techno-crap that they forget simple practicalities. Sadly, a lot of Web 2.0 and Google-related stuff seems to fall foul of this problem. I'm sure that there is some real innovation going on out there somewhere, but there's also a lot of fairly pointless random API invention (and re-invention) and minor tweaking of existing ideas trying to pass itself off as something really clever.

Of course, as I've already said, I'm not against reinventing the wheel per se - so long as it's for a good enough reason. I just don't think that it's worth making a big fuss when someone does it. Unfortunately, many technology pundits, reporters and bloggers seem to have a penchant for making an immense fuss whenever anything lands on their desk. Even if it's just their morning cup of coffee, but with "Google" written on it or with the cup painted in a soft pastel design with rounded corners (to stretch an old joke).

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Anonymous Coward

"bukkaked" ?

wtf, I'm a South African and although I usually understand all the British terms and colloquialisms to be found at the Reg, "bukkaked" has me totally stumped. Please explain...

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Joke

Gears

Google Gears gives users of Google Docs & Spreadsheets the ability to edit docs and spreadsheets offline. Thats significant for my company, who has standardised on the Google Apps platform. Guess what.. it works, and upcoming JS engine enhancements will make it work even faster.

Yes, you forgot to include Google Maps (and I guess Google Earth, the 3D version of maps?), Google Mail, Google Apps, also I save money using Google Products and I notice many online vendors now support Google Checkout which gives vendors cross-credit for their Google AdWords accounts. On my iPhone I have youtube, Google Maps with GPS and Google Mail.

You're absolutely right, apart from search (that would include Google Images, I guess) and ads, Google is clearly a one-trick pony!

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Anonymous Coward

OpenID: too early

The challenge with OpenID is, sorry, was that not many in the identity "business" supported it - it's better to supply some proprietary system that locks you in as the federated approach of OpenID goes exactly against the "one domain" that security token suppliers prefer.

There is, however, a new kid on the block. Give them a couple of months, it may make OpenID worth the effort after all..

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Here comes the PHP developers...

Lets play a game, count all the rants from PHP developers who've got all offended.

(I'm a non-offended PHP developer)

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" Never underestimate the disparity between developer excitement and user apathy."

That's my new motto.

I briefly looked into using OpenID for a site I'm developing but gave up when I realised that I would never be able to explain the concept to my users in a way that makes sense.

Mr. Wurst: you are right, having one login would be easier, which is why OpenID is so laughable. Somehow they made it more complex than juggling yet another login. Using a fully qualified URL (http://username.openid.org) was just plain weird, that's a web address, not a login name. How do you explain that to people who barely understand what a "yourall" actually is? Besides, it fails the "meh, too much effort" test for most people.

OpenID is also trapped in a catch-22. People will only use it widely when everyone supports it, but everyone will support it only when lots of people are using it (I mean actively not just because they have a yahoo account).

A perfect example of technical brilliance by people who have no idea about how norml people use the internet. Does anyone really think that most people use different passwords or different services? Of course not, they use the same one everywhere, then they use the password reminder when they forget what that is. So which problem is this actually solving? It's replacing easy to remember usernames with a flipping fully qualified URL. That's really going to make people use it.

Just because something is clever, doesn't make it useful.

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Google Gears: could be useful

I must say that I am a Google gears user. It would be great if more web apps. used it (especially Gmail).

In the summer I often spend the week end in the countryside where I can't get any form of internet connectivity at all. Being able to take my Google reader articles with me is great. That being said, I don't know if many people often go where they don't even have dial up access for days...

For Google docs, it is also useful to have the offline option, it avoid friends and family phoning in panic because they can't access their documents just because they lost their internet connection (and telling them to use Google docs in the first place avoid them calling in panic because they can't find their documents since they cleaned all those folders on their HDD).

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The thing is

Open Social was on the right lines. What's Facebook good at, really? It's the friends list - and expanding the friends list. That's why it took off so fast.

What Facebook's terrible at is what you do once you're connected to all these people online. It's a poor photo and video host, 99% of the apps are rubbish and erm... that's it.

What you really need is an address book that will sort out connections between friends and a news feed to pull from any site you might choose to host things on - your blog, Flickr, whatever. Like a single RSS feed for your mates. (Yes I know - ring them up and have a real conversation. But a lot of people obviously like Facebook / Myspace.)

I was kind of hoping Open Social was it, but perhaps not.

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Dead Vulture

OpenID

"I got lost on the part where my username isn't really a username."

Sorry if it's too confusing for you. Perhaps you should have a nice lie down?

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Linux

Feel the hate

Wow, that was a lot of hate. As someone who uses the excellent Google Docs, Google Earth and Google Calendar, I have little time for people who trot out the tired meme about Google having done nothing since search.

The importance of years is it lets the user edit their stuff off-line.

Oh, thanks for all the hate towards people who use php and JS. I'm sure that will ensure your article a good reception.

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Tom

Let's not forget

Cardspace, languishing at the bottom of the bin.

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Tom

complicated

OpenID was designed to be a simpler form of federated access and it achieved it. Unfortunately it's still a solution in search of a problem.

It's a complicated area that's never going to be exactly 'simple'. If you want to look at the really complicated stuff check out SAML with it's complicated schemas, client authentication with PKI, XML encryption, strange message flows and digital signing.

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Flame

Forgot to mention Knol.

Which is, of course, utter gash.

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Flame

OpenID ?

I do not know about you guys, but I actually use it and have no issues whatsever. More importantly, I am fed up with separate logins everywhere. Really, really fed up; as a result I simply refuse to contribute to more sites than the few I already contribute to.

As to identity theft "bussinessmen", I understand that 1. OpenID is not meant for security critical applications (I would laugh in the face of bank trying to employ it) 2. The whole point why LDAP and others are not applicable is that the password is not seen nor transported by the site requesting user to be authenticated.

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Snigger

I'm pretty sure the lovely people on MySpace noticed the OpenSocial stuffs. And Hi5, Orkut, Friendster, et al...

OpenID is in use all over the place, or perhaps you need to investigate fun things like Twitter?

And as for Google Gears - just wait for the new browsers and the new applications that will be supported on them ;)

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Black Helicopters

@ Myself

Me: Did you not realise that there was a second page to the article?

Me: Nope, must be the El Reg redesign.

Me: Whatever. Go and read the second half of the article.

...

Me: Ok, I'm back.

Me: What do you think?

Me: I think the second half is just a repetition of the first half and stand by my points.

Me: Fair enough.

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Flame

OpenID? MS Passport?

Didn't Microsoft try to do the "One ID to rule them all" with their MS Passport idea?

To me, OpenID is just as stupid as that. So, I can loose just ONE username and password pair to loose all my data now? Yeah... I trust that scrubby little forum to protect my OpenID.

Or why make the hacker's \ PI \ FBI job easier by giving them a "one stop shop" for all of my online identities and tastes. I quite LIKE the idea of having different identities everywhere. :)

Google - you are a search engine. Stick with what you know. :) Maybe get the search to work BETTER? This would be good. For example - being able to search for information on a product one owns without being bombarded with those useless pages trying to sell me another one. (Or a list of sites who can....). "No Sales Search" would be very useful.

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Trackback on OpenID

http://pzf.fremantle.org/2008/09/openid-and-register.html

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Gmail???

Have you heard of Gmail? I think that may be classed as a success. I know you have heard of it because your personal email address is indeed Gmail.

I don't see why people have such a big problem with failed Google projects. Surely it's better that they spend their billions on innovation than sitting on it. Some stuff will work and some won't. As long as it's not your money who cares?

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OpenID

I've seen OpenID on a few sites - e.g. clicktime.com

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W

developed / bought?

This article reads like an introduction to a much more comprehensive review and asessment of Google's extra-curricular activities.

As for the line:

"Like every other product Google has released since search and ads, OpenSocial has been a dud."

Gmail is class and as far as I'm aware, developed in-house. A glaring omission.

Aaron Holesgrove, above, is fairly well on the money. To that, add Sketchup to the "good, but bought in category" - it's a nice, rudimentary 3d modelling prog that ties in fairly wel with Google Earth. Add Picasa to the "on-the-fence category" - It's no way near as ubiquitous as flickr but it's decent enough at what it does. Add Google Notepad (bookmarks scrapbook) to the "duff, in-house category" - Delicious is beautiful in it's restrained simplicity.

Wild card - Paint.Net is a class program and would slide into Google's portfolio very nicely, but there's no chance of that, with it's .NET roots. Rather, Microsoft really should be adding Paint.NET into Windows as the standard graphics package. It is to MS Paint what Wordpad is to Notepad. Vista SP2 addition perhaps?

Which brings us back to my original point. I look forward to this article's SP1. What's the scheduled release date? Or is the whole thing actually a homage to Google, insofar as the article is actually in Beta?

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Alert

You can take a horse to water

... but you can't force it to use your API.

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@AC re: advantages of single account

First of all, my premise is that the vast majority of people will try to use the same username (and definately the same email address) and password for every web service they use.

Assuming this, if your username and password are leaked, people can try them on every service on the web, take control, and you have to try to recover each and every account.

On the other hand, with a single account, not only can you enforce a bit more complex a password, but if it gets hacked you only have one account to recover.

That's the theory anyway...

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Dead Vulture

Worker threads

"Well, Google did, and crippled the "threading" interface by making all workers shared-nothing. Nice, now you don't have to worry about hard things like resource synchronization."

Sorry, did someone just say that *worker* threads should *share* resources?

Yeah, coz we all know that linear speedup on multiple cores is undesirable. Not to mention the sheer boredom invoked by provably deadlock-free code. That's not how real men do multiple threads.

What do Google know about parallel programming anyway? Let's bash them. Bash bash bash. Look how iconoclastic I am! I'm going to bash Apple next for their poor user interface design.

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hired a funnyman??

Aaron - I think you'll find they hired Seinfeld, a man who is as far from funny as bill gates is from cool.

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@mr wurst

personally, I am capable of handling multiple logon accounts with my mind.. I don't need a software solution that brings about the possibility of a single password compromise screwing with unintended websites that I might actually rely upon.

I have a tiered system of password generation depending on how much I trust an individual site.

The thought of a single sign on when it comes to websites makes my skin crawl! I find it's only users that go orgasmic over such a system.

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Anonymous Coward

openid

I was shure allmost all the security sites I have seen recomend diffrent passwords for all acounts now they want to use only one accound and one password....cookoo

anonymous cos you could get into lots of things if you know my reg id

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Yeah... ummm no...

yeah, Ted.... Google are such failures. sorry... fucking failures.

I mean, who (sorry... who the fuck) is going to want to use web apps like Google docs offline when they could just go and buy MS Office?

Wankers.

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Flame

Fail and You

How's that Web site of yours, Ted? Still down?

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Paris Hilton

@ Johan: WTF 'bukkake'

Johan - go google for it if you haven't already and don't do it from the office or anywhere someone might take a peek over your shoulder while viewing mate :0)

You have been warned !

Gotta be PARIS...I'll eat my own feet id she's not had one

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Flame

ZOMGWTF! Offline apps FTW!

Erm, I already have a software stack that will allow me to work on documents and read my mail off-line, even across multiple operating platforms.

We call this amazing technological innovation "Applications".

Careful you don't get those crayons stuck up your nose, RTards.

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Stop

@Johan Hartman

You poor, poor soul.

Tip: Don't Google it at work.

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Stop

Gears - I wouldn't write it off yet

Whilst a seemingly pointless plugin for Firefox/IE (unless you use any of Google Mail, Google's Office applications, and a number of other supporting applications that keep getting added to the list. Wordpress being recent)...

Gears is core to Chrome and ultimately the Google Desktop OS (not to be confused with Google Desktop the desktop search & widget thing). I wouldn't be surprised if it's also there or will be in Android.

From what I can tell Gears is just a first step. It's a bit like .Net which everyone wrote off initially. It's definitely here to stay (especially if Chrome does as well as it looks like it could).

Beats me the negativity towards Google when they are the ones who can potentially knock Microsoft of their perch. Sure, they're an evil empire like the rest of them and have information on everyone's activities on the web, but then I'm far happier with Google handling the information than the government! At least Google don't treat me as a criminal and I don't have to pay them taxes ;-)

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Breaking news El Reg author finds Interweb too complicated to use.

Really why rant without saying anything of any sense at all? You could have had a go at Adobe Air and said the same thing. I.e. nothing really of any sense. Would people stare at you or applaud, if you had?

Exactly.

Pointless. A bit like me writing this I suppose.

*sigh*

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@feel the hate

'...people who trot out the tired meme about Google having done nothing since search...'

since when was this a tired meme?

what utter, utter, bollocks

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Paris Hilton

@"bukkaked?"

Hrmmm.. at the risk of falling for what may have been a troll, may I suggest as a translation "being subjected to explosive joy in the face", perhaps? Paris knows...

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I think you all might want to read this:

GACL, for Gears, Android and Chrome on Linux.

http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/gacl

Chrome "the first cloud browser"

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@Johan Hartman

Try doing an image search for the that word, minus the final 'd' and you should find out.

Never though I would hear/see that word used in a genuine business context!

Thumb's up, well, something is !!

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Boffin

OpenID

If you ignore the some of hype surrounding OpenID, it does a fairly good job in its problem domain. For example, it does a pretty good job for single sign on of web applications when you don't trust all parties with access to passwords or the full user database. In such a situation, things can be configured so the user doesn't even have to enter a URL -- they are expected to have an account with the central service and it will be able to provide their identity URL with the successful response.

If you are building such an SSO system and don't use OpenID, you'll probably end up with something almost equivalent to it (e.g. Yahoo's bbauth or Google's authsub). One benefit of OpenID is that someone else might have already done the work to make your application work with it.

In the fully decentralised model, there is certainly a bit of a barrier with the first site the user logs into, but the idea is that this is amortised over all the other sites the users will use. So when making decisions about OpenID it is important to look at the uptake in the target user community when making decisions about whether to require it.

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Paris Hilton

bukkake

Dont forget to turn the family filters off.

Paris, cos I'd bukkake her anyday!!!

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