OpenID 2.0 Directed Identity and Emails

A couple of days ago I’ve talked with Eran Hammer-Lahav about an idea I had regarding his post about using Emails as OpenID identifiers.

During the talk another sub-idea came into light in regards to OpenID 2.0 Directed Identity and Emails. While I’m not sure if this has been discussed before (I didn’t have much time to go through old posts on the OpenID mailinglist yet) I thought about bringing it up here.

Directed Identity is a feature that allows a user to enter the domain in which his/her identity resides. This means that if I want to use my OpenID login at some site instead of entering the whole URL to my exact identity, I can simply put the domain name of my OpenID provider.

My provider will figure out all the rest including how to direct me back to the right site after I correctly login.

Yahoo’s implementation of OpenID 2.0 supports directed identities. At their OpenID site, they are educating users to write just “” instead of a full blown long URL to their profiles.

With a small change, a user can use his/her Email address to use directed identity, after all, users already knows how to enter an Email address in most sites to sign-in/up.

In the case of Yahoo, instead of entering “” to use directed identity, why not put your whole Email “”. The consumer OpenID implementation can simply cut off the domain name from the Email and use directed identity for the rest of the process.

I’m sure a lot of Yahoo users will find that entering their Email more natural and easier to comprehend than to figure out they should put the domain name.

The benefits for this idea is in its implementation. Providers that support OpenID 2.0 doesn’t need to do anything. The real change here is in the OpenID consumer libraries that supports OpenID 2.0. The consumer libraries only needs to use a simple regex to extract the domain name from the Email.

Do you know if this idea was previously suggested?

Do you think its applicable?

I certainly think it can make it easier for everyone and I’m thinking here in mother terms. I know my mother knows her Email and knows how to sign in to sites with it. I’m quite sure she has little understand as to what a URL is, what’s its syntax and why she would need to use it.

My Google Development Community Piece was referenced at ZDNet

2 days ago I wrote a post about the lack of Google Israel’s involvement in the development community.

It seems that in most of the places (I’m sure in the US, I’m not sure if the rest of the development centers in South American and Europe have the same involvement) where Google has development centers they are a little more involved with the development community in the form of lecture, places to meet and chat, sponsoring events, etc.

I got referenced on ZDNet by Donna Bogatin (Thanks Donna! :-) ) in a post Donna wrote about a victory that Microsoft had over Google in Israel for an enterprise search engine.

There are a couple of things I wanted to comment about Donna’s post.

People need to realize that Microsoft had a presence in Israel for quite some time starting from the 1990 or so (if I’m not mistaken) and the first development center outside of the USA that Microsoft had was the one in Haifa, Israel.

There is a big and fat contract for the Israeli government as well as the Israeli education system with Microsoft, so there is no real wonder why Microsoft one this contract. Of course I might be off on this one since I lack all of the details, but its reasonable to assume that one less contractor and some other promises from Microsoft and the contact was sealed.

One anecdote is that the Israeli government helped to finance the Hebrew translation and major Hebrew support in OpenOffice (just go to – Hebrew Link – and see that the effort was sponsored by the Israeli ministry of finance). One of the reasons for this project was to enable every citizen and school to have an advanced word processor, spreadsheet editor, and other solutions in Hebrew and for free as part of the government of Israel’s online government project (which is quite advance in global terms as well).

This means that every school in Israel, the Israeli education system and all of the government offices could have migrated to a pure Hebrew OpenOffice and save a lot of money (and there are better uses for this money in Israel. Trust me) instead of getting a contract from Microsoft to supply it’s Office suite.

Of course, even though the government paid for the translation and migration of OpenOffice to Hebrew, Microsoft still won the contract (probably because the government didn’t want to move to another operating system and retrain the staff) and Israel got a “real deal” so that it paid quite a few bucks for that.

There are rumors Steve Ballmer’s visit a few years back was the one that made the deal very lucrative for the Israeli government and closed the deal.

Now I know it sounds like I’m yet another Microsoft basher and it might be partially true. I am, however, proficient and trained enough in Microsoft technologies. I even have an Advanced .NET Debugging blog and I have worked (and still working) with Microsoft technologies for a good part of my professional life.

I do, however, feel comfortable in Linux and non MS technologies (both Web and non web).

On the other hand I’m not an MS zealot as well as not an open source zealot. I believe that the right tools should be used for the right cause and circumstances and I do believe in open and good competition which is a bit lacking in Israel at the moment, at least from the development community side.

As I’ve said in the previous post, the open source community in Israel is quite alive and kicking and they do have conferences and group meetings, but its mainly based on the good will of good people to organize and make sure things like a Linux Installfest and the Israeli Open Source developers conference still happens, usually with a very small participation and/or funding of the “big companies”.

I just hope that one of the Googlers here or in the US read about it and decide to act upon it :-)

Google Israel – Where Art Thou in the Development Community?

I know that Google‘s original Googleplex at Mountain View is very active for non googlers. There are frequent open lectures there and they host a bunch of other things like Summer of Code (well, not always host, but sponsor and make sure people know about it) and Google Developer Day (which is happening at 10 different locations worldwide, but NOT in Israel).

I know there are suppose to be two development centers in Israel, one in Haifa (which I know is located in MATAM cause you can see it from road #2 leading from Tel Aviv to Haifa near Intel and Microsoft Haifa) but I have no idea where the other development center in Israel is located, other than the fact that its suppose to be in the Tel Aviv area.

I don’t know how active Google is in the development community in other countries besides the US but I think that Google Israel (and the rest of Google) as well as the rest of the development community in Israel will benefit if they’ll open up a bit and become a major player in the development community.

Microsoft Israel figured this out a long time ago and there are quite a few communities (warning: Hebrew link) that meet once a month. There is also at least one full time Microsoft employee (at least that I know of) that is logistically leading this effort and making sure everyone stay happy and use MS products. I don’t even talk about the big events Microsoft Israel holds at least once a year to show off new things and to educate people about the new technology.

I guess this effort paid off since most of the companies developing in Israel today (and quite a few startups, even in the web 2.0 arena) are using Microsoft technologies and not Open Source products and technologies.

If Google Israel (hopefully the R&D part) will open up a bit and start hosting lectures and events in Israel, the same way the original Googleplex (and possibly other Google centers around the world, I don’t really know) does, the Israeli development community may gain a valuable player that can educate people about the usage of Open Source development environment, products and solutions.

It can become a driving force that can change how the Israeli development community looks and acts.

I’m not saying there is no open source community and activity in Israel. There is quite a few. Heck, even PHP (from v3 I think) is in part Israeli and Zend (the company behind PHP which supports its development) is in Israel. There are more than a few Linux kernel hackers that I know of that contribute on a daily basis to the Linux kernel and other sub systems and more than a few companies that base their products on open source products and give back to the community in the form of patches, fixes and features.

What I am saying is that having a major player that can concentrate the efforts and help cultivate and educate the development community in Israel on things other than Microsoft and Microsoft Technologies can have a major effect on the Israeli development community and there is no better time than now.

If one of you Israeli Googlers are reading this, you are more than welcome to comment or even comment privately directly to me.

Of course, I might be imaging all of this but some quick Google searches didn’t put anything up in an obvious way.

Speaking of development and the development community, since MS already has a development center in Israel (and is creating additional ones besides the one in Haifa) and Google has 2 development centers in Israel, where is Yahoo? I guess that’s something for another post :-)

Yahoo Pipes, Microformats and Extendability

I think Yahoo Pipes is really cool. The main attraction is its slick user interface and ease of use.

I just created a pipe of all of the Recent Questions of Yedda translated using Babelfish to French and it took less than 5 minutes.

I do have a couple of ideas that I think will make Yahoo Pipes into something very interesting:

  • Accept Regular HTML pages
  • Have a built-in Microformats parser
  • Support for a more complex piping scripting (perhaps in the form of a JavaScript script)
  • Support for state saving (or at least a limited way such as the ability to compare the previous version of the page/feed you are piping)

Accept Regular HTML pages
Currently, Yahoo Pipes (at least as far as I’ve figured it out) accept only feeds (Atom, RDF, RSS, etc). The other building blocks that works with Yahoo Search, Google Base and Flickr eventually output a feed to Yahoo Pipes. Having the ability to retrieve a page instead of a feed and manipulate it will make things a lot more interesting and will allow VERY interesting meshups and ideas

Built-In Microformats parser
If Yahoo Pipes will accept regular pages, having a built-in Microformats parser will allow people to extract various types of structured information stored in the Microformats on the pages, thus, creating a reacher and more interesting abilities with Yahoo pipes.

Pipes Scripting
Having custom scripting abilities to Yahoo Pipes will make it really great and will allow a burst of innovation and interesting things composed with Yahoo Pipes. Of course, this feature is the most complex one from both development and security since having 3rd party code run on your servers is always a problematic thing. But, I’m sure the fine people at Yahoo can limit that.

One idea that comes into mind is writing such scripts in JavaScript, thus the whole running of the scripts on top of a page will be contained into a JavaScript environment and can only work on the input of the file being parsed.

State Saving
State saving will allow users to create a more complex pipe that can be aware of changes. The simplest one is to compare to the previous version of the page/feed, thus allow the pipe writer to figure out what to output.

An interesting pipe example that uses some of the things I’ve talked about above would be to have a pipe that listen to a certain drivers vendor’s driver page (most of the drivers vendors don’t have a feed that I can subscribe to and know when there are newer versions of a driver and things like that). The pipe would extract the current version and date from the page and compare it to the previous version stored at Yahoo of that page. If it has changed, it will add an item to the feed’s pipe saying that a new version exists, etc.

What do you think? Will this work? Would you be interested in such things?

If you haven’t done so already, go check out (and hopefully use, afterwards)

As written in’s about page: acts as a bridge between these two worlds. You can sign in to using your Yahoo! account, and then create one or more OpenID accounts for use elsewhere on the Web.

Basically, if you have a Yahoo ID, you can sign-in and create an OpenID for yourself at thus allowing you to use your Yahoo ID and password to connect to any OpenID supported site.

Go try it out! is written by Simon Willison. You can read more about the service in this post on his blog. and or I’m late, again!

I just read Simon Willison‘s post about

It’s funny, I just talked about such a service in a previous post and also mentioned I’m working on the same service. I was suppose to release it a week ago but had some other issues to attend to as well as some learning curve with using JanRains’ PHP OpenID library and only manage to get it almost working yesterday. I was planning on release it this week, but since Simon already released I’m rethinking that :-)

I guess when you snooze you loose.

My approach was a little different. I wanted to lower the barrier of sign in a bit more and was thinking more in the form of a fixed user that you’ll use to sign in.

For example, if my Yahoo account is I would use the following URL to sign into an OpenID supported site:

My service will simply delegate you to Yahoo and Yahoo will have to handle all the necessary phishing stuff on their own (which they actually do).

I think I’ll ping Simon and have a little chat about our ideas for such a service :-)

Google openning a second research center in Israel

According to this, Google is opening an R&D center in Israel in the Tel Aviv area.
This is the second center, the first one opened in Haifa.

Microsoft has a research center in Haifa from 1991 and it was published in the Israeli press (sorry, I couldn’t find an English reference for this) that they are planning to open another research center in the Tel Aviv area.

The only company now from the big GYM (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) that doesn’t have an R&D presence here in Israel is Yahoo.

What are they waiting for? Perhaps they don’t view Israel as an important part of their R&D strategy (unlike Microsoft and Google).

Google will open up an R&D Center in Israel

According to this link in Globes, the Israeli Business newspaper, Google is going to open up an R&D center in Israel in the second quarter. The center will be led by Dr. Yoelle Maarek, a long time (17 years) veteran of IBM’s research labs and will be located in the northern city of Haifa (near the Technion, surprise surprise)

The only company out of the big 3, a.k.a, GYM (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft), that has an R&D center in Israel is Microsoft. Yahoo had something in the first bubble and after the explosion of the first bubble it was quickly closed.

This comes a little bit after Google opened an office for marketing purposes in Israel and is now hiring.

Its going to be very interesting from a few points of view:

  1. Microsoft’s R&D center in Israel is located in Haifa as well.
  2. IBM’s Research Labs are also located in Haifa
  3. The Technion, Israel’s leading technical university is also located in Haifa, meaning, plenty of Software Engineers from the top of the line of the academy in Israel.

Microsoft’s R&D center mainly focuses on security and, if I’m not mistaken, was the place of birth for COM+ and some other interesting technologies. While no one knows for sure what Google will develop in Israel, I wonder how Microsoft is going to react to that.

It’s also going to be very interesting as to what Yahoo will do with this and if they are willing to take another shot at Israel.

The arena in Israel is heating up, that’s for sure.

Connect Google Talk with MSN, Yahoo and AIM

Just saw this on Digg and since I’m already on a Jabber frenzy due to my previous posts, I thought I should share.

Looks quite cool, though I haven’t tried it yet.

I’m using GAIM so I got everything all up in one client. I’m just waiting to get a build of GAIM that works with libjingle so I would be able to chat with my friends using Google Talk’s voice features.

If I only had a bit more free time to actually code on GAIM that would be even better… oh well… back to the salt mines.

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