Ulla-Maaria Mutanen of Crafter’s Manifesto fame, launched her Thinglinks beta at previous weekend’s Maker Faire. Thinglinks are persistent unique identifiers for individual creations, and Ulla has previously described them as “product codes for democratizing the global market“.

In December, Dave Weinberger was out claiming that 2006 would be the year of unique IDs “because they enable people and systems to agree on what they’re talking about.”

The challenge with unique identifiers like Thinglinks is whether they should stay as thin as URLs simply infering reference, or whether they should add richness through semantic assertions. It’s Amazon vs. the original Allconsuming, where the current Thinglinks captures Amazon’s centralized richness while a thin Thinglink would simply enable an aggregation of decentralized blogposts or Ebay sales items, much like Allconsuming used to capture blogpost references to Amazon’s product UIDs, the ASIN.

The web will continue to see these fights of centralized richness versus decentralized reference, as in also on display at “Ebay vs. Edgeio“, but with developments like Thinglink it’s getting skewed more towards the latter. As Dave Weinberger concludes, “We’re going to have to provide UIDs because before language, we at least had pointing. UIDs are pointing for computers.”