It’s a great day for the opening up of the Social Web. The largest and fastest growing social network, Facebook, has sent their strongest message to the world that “open” is strategically important to them by stepping up to become a corporate member of the OpenID Foundation. Sweet! Breaking coverage: VentureBeat, CNET, TechCrunch.
Given the popularity and positive user experience of Facebook Connect, we look forward to Facebook working within the community to improve OpenID’s usability and reach. As a first step, Facebook will be hosting a design summit next week at their campus in Palo Alto which follows a similar summit on user experience hosted at Yahoo! last year. The summit will convene some of the top designers from Facebook, the DiSo Project, Google, JanRain, MySpace, Six Apart and Yahoo!, focusing on how existing OpenID implementations could support an experience similar to Facebook Connect.
Here’s the official post from Facebook’s Mike Schroepfer. The best quote: “We see great opportunities to increase our contributions across the open stack.”
This news will surprise (or even shock) many, but I see this as a natural and expected move. After all, Facebook has been getting more and more involved in the open community, attending the OpenID UX Summit last Fall and the Activity Streams meetup a few weeks ago. And Luke Shepard, from the Facebook Connect team, ran in the recent election for the OpenID Foundation Community Board. Luke will now be Facebook’s official representative to the foundation.
I have to say this is a great moment in time. I am so proud of my friends at Facebook who have helped make this happen. Props to Dave Morin and to Luke Shepard. You guys rock!
In related news, Joseph Smarr of Plaxo is being added to the OpenID Foundation Community Board as a result of Facebook becoming a new corporate member. (The rules of the Foundation have the Community Board expanding at the same rate as the corporate membership. Joseph happened to be next in line, based on the election results.)
Looking forward to next week’s OpenID UX Summit, hosted by Facebook. It wouldn’t be surprising if I were to live blog it!
Recommended reading: Chris Messina’s take on the news.