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eBay Working to Solve Identity System Problem

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Last night I met Dan Pritchett, technical fellow at eBay. He told me that eBay alone has 21 identity systems.

So, if you wanted to use every part of eBay’s empire, like Skype, PayPal, StumbleUpon, etc, you’d need to sign in 21 different times.

Needless to say he, and others at eBay, are working on solving that problem.

Why did I meet up with Dan Pritchett? Because of a speech by Tim Berners Lee, the guy who invented the Web. No, Al Gore didn’t do that. Heh.

Anyway, we’ll have the videos of Tim’s talk up tomorrow. He’s thinking a lot about how to take the Web further and is working on Web research — but I’ll just let you read his blog to learn more about that. CNET has a report up of the talk he gave.

One thing I noticed is that during the talk he spent a lot of time talking about social behaviors of people. He’s clearly been studying the blog world and the social networking worlds and had a good answer to my question about what Facebook should look like in five years.

Another thing I noticed? It’s really great to be able to hear from smart people directly without having to go through intermediaries or filters anymore.

Anyway, back to the headline. How many identity systems and social networks do we need? How are we going to join them all together? I know I’m on Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Yelp, Upcoming, etc. etc. etc. — I wish they all talked with each other and all used the same sign on. Memorizing passwords is a real PITA.

Good luck to eBay and others in the efforts to join their systems together. That’s going to be some tough engineering (and political) work.

See ya tomorrow with the videos.

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