Sep 21

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

SmugMug Quickly Implements XFN

SmugMug, the family-owned photo-sharing site, quickly implemented XFN and FOAF yesterday after hearing about SixApart's post on Opening the Social Graph (Radar post). CEO Don MacAskill announced on his SmugBlog that "150K SmugMug accounts now have auto-discoverable FOAF, embedded XFN, and are OpenID endpoints.."

As he told me in email "Every SmugMug customer's homepage is now not only an OpenID endpoint (been that way for ~6 months or so), but includes XFN embedded in the relevant links (plus discoverable using the HEAD profile) and an auto-discoverable FOAF link." You can see it on Don's SmugMug page.

Have any other companies taken (or plan to) the XFN plunge b/c of SixApart's openness? Put it in the comments.

tags: web 2.0  | comments: 5   | Sphere It

Previous  |  Next

0 TrackBacks

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments: 5

  Peter Kazanjy [09.21.07 05:28 PM]

Perhaps I'm missing it, but I haven't seen anyone discussing the potential privacy impacts of "opening the social graph." What Smug Mug just did was make it relatively trivial for a machine to crawl my Smug Mug social network, cross ref that with OpenId information, and allow someone to know who I'm friends with on smug mug in a way that is much much easier than before.

Remember when Facebook's users had a massive conniption fit when Facebook launched the News Feed? Even though it was information that already existed, suddenly, by aggregating it and distributing that information in a way that users had not agreed to initially, and had not factored into their usage patterns, Facebook completely wigged out its user base.

Open and exchangeable is nice...but why does that mean that it has to be crawlable?

Have these open graph adherents thought through the spam implications of this? What can someone do if they know your social graph that they can't do if they don't? Will the rise of the open graph give rise to the rise of the faked foaf recommendation?

I'm all for users owning their own data and being able to take it with them. What that requires in terms of social graphing is cross-platform identity, thereby identifying nodes across sites, and the ability to take edges, the links between them, with you.

Having XFN rel=friend links that are crawlable is one approach to that, but in a very, very open fashion, the implications behind which don't seem to be 100% thought out.

One of the reasons users like Facebook is because not everyone can galavant through your profile. You can control that. I would love to see someone throw a scripted crawler at MySpace's serialized user profiles and take data on what proportion of active profiles have security controls turned on (e.g., you can't view the page unless you're a "friend.")

Smugmug has just made their graph crawlable...without asking their users. Is that a good thing?

  Don MacAskill [09.21.07 05:48 PM]

Hi Peter,

One thing Brady omitted is that the XFN/FOAF stuff obeys our robust privacy settings already in place.

Plenty of our customers won't have XFN/FOAF stuff working because they've already told us that they prefer their data to be private. In fact, compared to someone like Flickr, a large percentage of SmugMug's users opt to contain their photos inside of their own private SmugIsland, our term for "disconnected from the rest of the network."

Privacy isn't new at SmugMug, so XFN and FOAF play nicely with all of the other privacy and security related features.

  Peter Kazanjy [09.21.07 08:17 PM]

No, I understand that your users can indeed decide to deem certain photos private, and that some users decide to keep their smugmug social networks private as well.

However, your reply seems to still not address my criticism that the "deal" you made with your users when they mapped their social networks on SmugMug was that they weren't crawlable nor exportable.

You've just made them easily machine readable, much the same way Facebook bundled and then served up all their users' gestures on the site for those users' friends to see in their news feed.

So yes, while SmugMug surely has great privacy controls built around whether a photo is public or only shows up for a user's friends or family, or whatever, this move seems to be outside of the scope of what users' bargained for when setting up their profiles.

Regardless, it's an interesting experiment, and I applaud your jumping right in with both feet. It should be interesting to see what shakes out.

  Mark [09.22.07 01:08 AM]

I, for one, am delighted to see further efforts made in the crawl-ability of smugmug as I use it for my primary public sale gallery. This is excellent news for professional and pro-amateur photographers.

  Peter Renshaw [09.22.07 09:39 PM]

Hi Don, thanks for having the brains, balls and ability to realise that your customers metadata is just as important as their other data. It's a much easier step to create a default system "opt-out". Not having access to this data and having to hand enter your friends if/when the need comes to try other sites should not be underrated.

Do you also have to tools to use XFN/FOAF to add/supplement existing or new smug accounts?

Post A Comment:

 (please be patient, comments may take awhile to post)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.