The furore over Yahoo’s integration of Flickr user accounts into its main user database was probably predictable, but has raised some interesting questions about how users relate to their communities and to what extent they perceive their identities as being vested in both the community and in the data which the community holds about them. But what I found really interesting was this post on O’Reilly Radar which talks about the fact that Flickr has an API to its user database, which now means that, effectively, there is an API to Yahoo’s database too, and the fact that it’s now being used by a third-party website, geobloggers.com.
I think, unless I’m mistaken, that geobloggers is the first web site (as opposed to cool tool) to have fully intergrated with the new Flickr/Yahoo authentication scheme. The whole site is built on and backended by the Flickr API (while the map interface is managed by the Google maps API). I use Flickr to manage user registraion, login, information and photo storage.
Because the new Flickr API ties in with Yahoo is means that anyone with a Yahoo username can login and use the geobloggers site, without any additional registration. Geobloggers has gone from a potential user base of anyone with a Flickr account, who sent me an email, that I’d have to process by hand, to anyone with a Yahoo Account and I don’t have to do anything. The user base has shot up into the millions, any Yahoo member is a geobloggers member by default. Frankly I actually find that pretty scary.