BBC looking at OpenID for iPlayer social network

At Adobe’s MAX conference in Milan last week I spoke to the BBC’s Anthony Rose, who runs iPlayer at the BBC, and wrote this up for today’s Guardian. One of the things we discussed is social networking planned for iPlayer, where you will be able to see comments, ratings and recommendations from your friends. I asked Rose how user identities will be managed:

“We’ll make sure you never have to log in to use our services. But if you want to post comments and create a profile then you’ll need to log in. We’re going to start by using a BBC one, then we’re going to look at OpenID and see if we can synch to others. OpenID is very cool but is a challenging user experience, and some people will get it, and some will go, why have you made it more difficult?”

Right now there are multiple competing “networks of friends”: Facebook, MySpace, Microsoft Live Messenger, Twitter and so on. Facebook is trying to extend its reach with Facebook Connect; Google is evangelising OpenSocial which “defines a common API for social applications across multiple websites”, along with an implementation called Friend Connect. It will be interesting to see to what extent the BBC creates yet another social network, and to what extent it hooks into existing ones.