Webfinger now available for Google public profiles

If you've seen ReadWriteWeb's "Email as Identity", you know that Brad just turned on Webfinger for anyone with a public Google profile.  What this means is that, if (and only if) you've enabled your public Google profile at http://www.google.com/profiles/{username}, you can now use Webfinger to look up information you've added to your profile.  Here's the one for john.panzer for example.  By default this exposes only generic service endpoints, not actual information about the user.  But you can link it to private or public feeds, services, or basically anything you want to associate with your online identity.

A next step for Salmon is to let users add a link to their public key from their Webfinger discovered info.  Then given an email address it will be trivial to look up their preferred public key.  It'd look something like this via the discovery tool:

links {
  rel: "magic-public-key"
  type: "application/magic-public-key"
  href: "data:application/magic-public-key;,RSA.mV...ww.AQAB"


  1. What we're going to need is a way to share UserIDs without revealing email addresses (which Webfinger requires). For example, you can share your twitter userid in the form of @TwitterUserID without actually exposing your actual email address (which may change by the way over a period of time). I think with some changes in Google Buzz and Google Profiles we will start seeing things like ~UserID starting to denote a Google Profile ID which can be followed (and cannot be construed as UserID@gmail.com is the email Id of the user behind the profile). I wrote about this yesterday in my blog - http://MohanArun.com/feb-11-2010/

  2. @marun -- already now you can have a Google account without having Gmail activated there. That is the simplest way to accomplish what you're asking for.

  3. In general, Webfinger only requires an email like identifier like x@y.com, not an actual email account. Having an account but not an email inbox is a simple way to accomplish this. Also, the Webfinger spec itself is actually a wrapper around lower level protocols like LRDD and XRD that work with arbitrary kinds of identifiers. I certainly plan to accept all kinds of standards-based identifiers in things like Salmon, so you could for example use http://twitter.com/ev as your ID and have it work.

    My current term for all of these kinds of identifiers, email like or not, are "discoverable identifiers". In the market for a better term.

  4. In taking a wick read at these parts of the Salmon protocol, it seems like there is some overlap with the PGP web-of-trust infrastructure. Do these two forms of PKI intersect at all?

  5. Noticed that the webfinger rel redirects to a blog with a 404:


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