A few days ago, I saw this [tweet by Matt Biddulph](http://twitter.com/mattb/statuses/780694528) soar by:
> Impressed by passwordless import at http://www.flickr.com/impor… – does anyone know if that’s a *public* yahoo API they use? want!
I immediately went to investigate. You see, I have an interest in [social network portability](http://microformats.org/wiki/social-network-portability) (also called [“make holes in my buckets”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/13/please-make-holes-in-my-buckets/)) — I gave a [talk on SPSNs from a user point of view at WebCamp SNP in Cork](http://www.viddler.com/explore/steph/videos/35/) recently — and I am also concerned that in many cases, implementations in that direction make generous use of the [password anti-pattern](http://adactio.com/journal/1357) (ie, asking people for the password to their e-mail). It’s high time for [design to encourage responsible behaviour](http://www.disambiguity.com/design-ethics-encouraging-responsible-behaviour/) instead. As the [discussion at WebCamp shows](http://willknott.ie/2008/03/11/why-teach-a-man-to-be-phished/), we all agree that solutions need to be found.
So, what [Matt](http://www.hackdiary.com/) said sounded sweet, but I had to check for myself. (Oh, and Matt builds [Dopplr](http://www.dopplr.com/), in case you weren’t sure who he was.) Let me share with you what I saw. It was nice.
Go to [the Flickr contact import page](http://www.flickr.com/import/people/) if you want to follow live. First, I clicked on the GMail icon and got this message.
I clicked OK.
This is a GMail page (note the logged in information upper right), asking me if Flickr can access my Google Contacts, just this one time. I say “yes, sure”.
Flickr goes through my GMail contacts, and presents me with a list:
There is of course an “add all” option (don’t use it unless you have very few contacts), and as you can see, next to each contact there is a little drop down which I can use to add them.
When I’m done adding them, Flickr asks me if I want to send e-mail invites — which I don’t.
Neat, isn’t it?
Well, the best news about this is that Flickr isn’t alone. Dopplr (remember Matt?) [does the same thing](http://www.dopplr.com/account/invitations_via/gmail) — and also [for Windows Live Hotmail](http://blog.dopplr.com/2008/04/07/import-your-contacts-from-windows-live-hotmail/) now.
*Note and question mark: I just saw [Dopplr announced GMail password-free import back in March](http://blog.dopplr.com/2008/03/18/easier-gmail-contact-import-without-passwords/), before [Matt’s tweet](http://twitter.com/mattb/statuses/780694528). Did Dopplr do it before Flickr? Then, what was the tweet about? Thoroughly chronologically confused. Anyway, passwordless import of GMail contacts rocks. Thanks, guys.*
**Update:** Thanks for the chronology, Matt (see his comment below). So basically, Matt’s tweet was about the fact that though GMail and Hotmail allows services like Dopplr and Flickr to access contacts without requiring a password, Yahoo doesn’t. Flickr does it from your Yahoo account because they have special access. So, Yahoo, when do we get a public API for that?
- Please Make Holes in My Buckets! [en] (2007)
- We Need Structured Portable Social Networks (SPSN) [en] (2007)
- Dopplr: More Fuzziness Wanted [en] (2007)
- Flickr: Open Up Tagging Your Photos to the Community, Please [en] (2007)
- Becoming a Professional Networker: Tags in Address Book OSX Needed! [en] (2008)
- Twitter: We Love Our Partial Conversations [en] (2007)
- Retweeting [en] (2008)
- Diigo — I Think I Like the Idea (Bonus Content: Conversation Fragmentation) [en] (2008)
- Google Shared Stuff: First Impressions [en] (2007)
- Google Identity Dilemma [en] (2009)