Thursday, November 27, 2008

OpenID and image and video tagging

For those of you who use Facebook (and I'd guess MySpace and others), you know about image tagging. For those that don't, well, let me explain it briefly. If you post a picture to your Facebook account that has people in it also on Facebook, you can opt to "tag" the image. A simple editor opens and lets you click an area around their face and then you select them from your Facebook friend list. Then Facebook keeps that data in a database and if you want to look for pictures of your friends, you can find them easily. It's very cool.

But it's also very Facebook specific. Why? Well, because Facebook has no other way to do it. Generally, people don't have any kind of Internet-wide identity (other than your email address, which is not something you want to "tag" based on since it gives your email address to anyone who can view said picture). OpenID has been formed to let people have Internet-wide identities, but it is gaining momentum VERY slowly. Google is moving to support it, as is Yahoo, but even those guys have been slow to do it (though if you have a Blogger account, you do already have an OpenID!).

I'm not going to explain it other than to say basically your "ID" gets tied to a web address. It can be one you own or you can sign up for one (like your blogger web page) and you can then use that as your "ID" to create forum accounts in other places, etc. They simply authenticate you against the Blogger ID instead of you having to create YET ANOTHER stupid forum identity. (You can still create a handle type identity on the forum for people to call you by, rather than them calling you by your web address.)

Okay, great. I'm not just Donnie Barnes, I'm also Nice. But until more sites support OpenID, it doesn't get me much. Hopefully soon more forum administrators will add support for it. If you want it, ask your administrators politely.

But what I want to talk about now is another way to put acceptance of OpenID, and that's to get support directly into image and video files to "tag" people with their OpenID. Then YouTube and the like could let you search for videos containing certain people. I'd also love to see support in video files (and video editing software like iMovie) so that you could "export" any of the text you add via text overlay (think titles, credits, subtitles, etc) as keywords that could be searched by search engines. Currently you can only do that by hand depending on the video hosting site. This should be IN the video/image file, not some proprietary attachment.

I think we're headed in this direction, but people need to start asking their software providers for these things!

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