Reviewing my Five Bold Social Web Predictions for 2009

I just read David Recordon’s post about Facebook implementing support for OAuth WRAP on FriendFeed as a step toward supporting OAuth in Facebook Connect. That reminded me that we, as an industry, made enormous progress in 2009 toward a truly open, interoperable Social Web. But, I wondered, how well did that progress map to my five bold predictions for 2009, penned December 18, 2008?

My five bold predictions were:

Prediction 1: Facebook will begin its migration to the “Open Stack” and roll out support for at least one piece of it. Leading candidates: OpenID and OAuth.

Prediction 2: Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft will rollout support for Portable Contacts for their respective webmail services.

Prediction 3: Microsoft will implement OAuth, at least for Portable Contacts, if not more broadly.

Prediction 4: Microsoft’s “Windows Live” social network will become an OpenSocial container.

Prediction 5: Plaxo will so successfully prove onboard turbocharging via the Open Stack that they will abandon traditional email/password signups entirely.

Well, I’ve gotta say that I nailed the first of the five (Facebook beginning a migration to the Open Stack). Facebook accelerated its “open” plans in 2009, becoming a member of the OpenID Foundation, implementing “Hybrid OpenID/OAuth” for easy signup via Google account, hiring David Recordon, participating in the Activity Streams standardization effort, working actively in OAuth WRAP, and more I’m forgetting.

I got prediction number 2 mostly right (Big webmail providers support Portable Contacts), but not right enough. Google rolled out support for PoCo in March, joining other big supporting sites, like Plaxo and MySpace. And PoCo became a standard feature of OpenSocial. Microsoft rolled out support for the Portable Contacts schema, but not for accessing it via OAuth. Yahoo, who had a tough year in many ways, didn’t quite get there with PoCo…

Prediction number three, is complicated (Microsoft embracing OAuth). There are differing opinions about exactly the relationship between OAuth WRAP and OAuth. (I feel like I need to get The Social Web TV gang together to sort it all out.) I credit Microsoft with participating in the community efforts, in communicating clearly they’re objections to the current OAuth spec, and on working to move the ball forward.

Predictions four and five were a little over the top; I may have been hitting the egg nog when I wrote them. That said, Microsoft made big strides toward greater interop based on open standards, and while Plaxo is still allowing people to sign up without a third-party identity, people all over the Social Web are getting more comfortable signing up to sites via Facebook Connect or OpenID.

Overall, I’d say I was half-right in my bold predictions for 2009. Let me know if you disagree. Next week, I’ll make my predictions for 2010…

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