A few days ago, I saw this tweet by Matt Biddulph 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 (also called “make holes in my buckets”) — I gave a talk on SPSNs from a user point of view at WebCamp SNP in Cork recently — and I am also concerned that in many cases, implementations in that direction make generous use of the password anti-pattern (ie, asking people for the password to their e-mail). It’s high time for design to encourage responsible behaviour instead. As the discussion at WebCamp shows, we all agree that solutions need to be found.
Go to the Flickr contact import page 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?
Note and question mark: I just saw Dopplr announced GMail password-free import back in March, before Matt’s tweet. 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?