On Saturday morning at 5.01am UK time, Facebook usernames goes live. Users will have the chance to register a username which will develop a unique URL for their profile. Currently the URL is populated by random characters and the move will make it “easier for people to find and connect with you” according to Facebook.
As with any change that involves the social networking giant, the announcement has created a big debate online. Some users have been requesting the service for a while now, whereas some users are stringently against it.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the positive and negative impacts the move may cause:
Positive – The creation of usernames should improve shareability, which has got to be a good thing in terms of a social media. Instead of having to search for an individual’s actual name via Google or Facebook directly, users can now search by username – which has proved popular on other platforms like Twitter and MySpace.
It will also be much easier to give your Facebook details to new people you meet. You could even have it printed on a business card if you are really cool/sad.
It will also make it easier to link all of your social networking tools together – providing you use the same username for every platform you are registered with.
Negative – As with any change to Facebook, concerns are going to be raised about privacy and security. Protest groups have, not surprisingly, already been set up.
There are also major worries that people won’t be able to get their desired user names. Facebook has over 200million members, remember. That’s a lot of people competing to get usernames. There’s bound to be issues with username squatting as well, as there are with domain names currently.
The move also leads to comparisons with MySpace – a service that many people stopped using as the popularity of Facebook began to take hold. It could be argued that usernames are a bit of a backward step.
Either way, expect Facebook to freeze up at 5.01am on Saturday as the race begins. I’ll be awarding a gold star to anyone who manages to register ‘markzuckerberg’ as their username.
Read the full FAQs here.
Google has joined Yahoo! and Microsoft in the ranks of being an OpenID provider. Anyone who has a GMail address can now use it to log in to any site that accepts OpenID logins, like Zoho and Plaxo.
The list of sites that accept OpenID doesn’t include Microsoft, Yahoo! or Google, you might notice, despite the fact that they provide IDs. That’s because they’ve just signed up to the movement as a ‘provider’, not a ‘relying party’. That’s a shame, because now that everyone probably has two or three OpenIDs, it’d be nice to have somewhere to use them.
The OpenID movement is a decentralised service that’s supposed to provide you with one login for every website. It doesn’t work quite as well as that in practice, but it’s a very noble concept, so Google gets a small round of applause for providing them. A far bigger round of applause would be gained if they supported it themselves.