Joost invites available

I have been beta testing Joost over the last few weeks. As a result I now have 5 invites to give away. If you are really interested in beta testing Joost then please get in touch. Friends will obviously be at the top of the list.

My experiences of Joost during beta have been mixed but generally I’ve found the service to be extremely good. The interface is excellent, and it all works just as you expect it should. Whoever is doing the HCI work needs a whole-hearted pat on the back. The streaming can be a bit temperamental, but it isn’t surprising considering the increasing load. One of the issues I think they have is that although Joost minimises and still peers as a system tray application when in stand-by, people have a tendency to close the application down completely.

Content really is the next thing. The content on Joost is growing, and I look forward to Joost increasing their portfolio of content providers. I’d love to see a good news channel on Joost. Maybe the BBC might be interested!

Update: All the 5 invites have now been assigned. To be honest I was surprised by the level of interest. I have simply invited people in the chronological order in which they asked me. Apologies to everyone who didn’t get one. If I get assigned any more invites the people who have already asked will be first ones on the list.

Google Checkout comes to the UK

Google has announced today that it has launched Google Checkout for the UK market. Google Checkout offers a payment solution for both buyers and sellers on the internet, and is essentially a direct competitor to Ebay’s Paypal. As a developer I have always found Paypal difficult to integrate with. The sandbox that they provide to developers is awkward to use and fiddly, and I certainly welcome another player in the market. Looking through the documentation for Google Checkout it seems that Google has gone a long way to making the process for sellers as easy as possible with API samples for just about every common platform out there, including .NET.

I will certainly be looking to integrate Google Checkout into projects in the future. Paypal has often been criticised by sellers who have had their accounts and funds locked, and that has often put me off Paypal. As a seller I don’t want to be penalised by fraudulent buyers using Paypal. It is the payment providers responsibility to check the buyers credentials and authorise a payment or not. The seller has to take that advice on trust, so shouldn’t be penalised later. Of course the seller may have to refund the card payment, but their account should not be locked as a result.

The market for third party payment provision will certainly start to be interesting as Google Checkout grows in popularity. As a customer I don’t like giving my credit card details over to every company I buy from on the internet. I like the idea of a trusted third party which acts as a middle man, and for me at the moment, I trust Google a lot more than Paypal.

OpenID looks really useful

If you build web applications then OpenID is something you need to know. It is here to stay and growing fast. After AOL converted 65 million AOL logins into OpenIDs and Microsoft announcing that CardSpace would support OpenID, it can only become more popular with users. In addition, Digg.com has also announced that it will support OpenID very soon. As a community of early adopters, Digg will be a place where OpenID will be embraced with open arms. The community is tired of signing up time and again for different new Web2.0 services. OpenID releases new services from that problem.

OpenID is growing rapidly as people start to understand what it is and how it works. In essence, it offers users a way to free their identity by providing a simple, single interface to login to anywhere that supports OpenID. OpenID also supports attribute exchange, which means that users have less to manually type to sign up for services on the internet in the future. While it isn’t quite a complete goodbye to multiple user accounts, it will remove that horrendous problem for many people where they end up struggling to find a Yahoo or Google ID that isn’t stupid (benpowell197507 for example) because the early adopters got there first.

There are still problems with OpenID, but these are not unsolvable. I worry if one of the core ideas of OpenID, the principle that you, as the user, can move from provider to provider, isn’t a false dawn. I’m yet to see any of the new services offer a mechanism to allow users to import and export their profile. Surely that should have been the first feature.

If you want to try out OpenID then try one of the growing number of services that support it. It is surely the best way to figure out how it works. For me adoption of the technology awaits the development of an OpenID .NET API. The current offering is a port of another library, and many have expressed their desire to see a pure C# implementation. I for one, would love to see that.