MicroID – Identity in a shade of microformat

Doc points to microformat-compliant MicroID (“Small Decentralized Verifiable Identity”) by Jabber founder Jeremie Miller:

…a new Identity layer to the web and Microformats that allows anyone to simply claim verifiable ownership over their own pages and content hosted anywhere. The technology is radically simple and capable of empowering new and unique meta services with only minor effort.

I read over the description, but I still don’t quite get it.

A simpler solution (for web authors at least) is reciprocity using XFN. Essentially if I have access to two websites, I can link between them using the rel="me" microformat — very similar to what Technorati does with its claiming snippet.

So one rel="me" link implies an unconfirmed relationship, two or more confirms, for the purpose of building an exploratory network (non-authoritative), a relationship. Add in an

and you can start building an ad hoc profile that will result with a profile like the one I’m building on ClaimID.

So the way I see it, MicroID allows me to lay ownership to any piece of arbitrary content on the web, provided I can set the class of the object. In cases where that’s not possible, I’m not sure MicroID will work.

With the rel="me" solution, you can claim URLs that you can create links with rel values. Neither is perfect but both are decent uses of microformats for faking identity.

Update: change MicroID from a “.com” to a “.org” . Thanks Kevin!

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Author: Chris Messina

Product guy, friend to startups, inventor of the hashtag, proponent of bots and conversational apps; Xoogler and X Uber.

4 thoughts on “MicroID – Identity in a shade of microformat”

  1. I know you’re aware of this, Chris, but ClaimID easily supports the definition of custom rel attribute for all claimed links – meaning folks can easily define a variety of microformats for their links, XFN being one that pops to mind in this case.

  2. MicroID verifies ownership, which rel tags/XFN do not. It does not do authentication — that would be punted to an identity system (e.g. OpenID, SXIP, etc. etc.).

    Like all such systems/standards — “MicroID allows me to lay ownership to any piece of arbitrary content on the web, provided I can set the class of the object. In cases where that’s not possible, I’m not sure MicroID will work.” — you need adoption before things work (same with all microformats). MicroID foresees the systems themselves outputting the necessary information. i.e. in this here comment, I’ve left my email and my website — if there were a WordPress plugin (Phil Windley just wrote an MT one), it would be stamped with a MicroID. Which would be the same as my MicroID as generated on Slashdot, Digg, etc. etc.

    Also, I could have chosen to make this “owned” by my official company persona, by using my bryght.com address and URL.

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