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Some protocols for the federated social web:


OStatus isn't a new protocol; it applies some great protocols in a natural and reasonable way to make distributed social networking possible.

  • Activity Streams encode social events in standard Atom or RSS feeds.
  • PubSubHubbub pushes those feeds in realtime to subscribers across the Web.
  • Salmon notifies people of responses to their status updates.
  • Webfinger makes it easy to find people across social sites.

Activity Streams

Activity Streams a format for syndicating social activities around the web.

The Activity Streams format has already been adopted by MySpace, Windows Live, Google Buzz, BBC, Opera, TypePad, Gowalla, Gnip, Socialcast, Superfeedr, YIID, and many others.

An initiative from the Diso Project.

Apache Wave (former Google Wave)

Apache Wave is the project where wave technology is developed at Apache. Wave in a Box (WIAB) is the name of the main product at the moment, which is a server that hosts and federates waves, supports extensive APIs, and provides a rich web client. This project also includes an implementation of the Wave Federation protocol, to enable federated collaboration systems (such as multiple interoperable Wave In a Box instances).


DSNP is a protocol for distributed social networking. It allows everyone to collaborate to create one social network that is decentralized, like the Internet itself. It is an open technology that supports private communications, in a manner that users of modern social networks have come to expect. DSNP aims to cover any use case that can be described as first creating a profile for yourself, establishing connections to people you know, then broadcasting private information to those people.


DFRN is a distributed communications protocol which provides privacy and security of communications and also provides the basis for distributed profiles and making connections (friend requests).


OAuth an open protocol to allow secure API authorization in a simple and standard method from desktop and web applications.


oEmbed is a format for allowing an embedded representation of a URL on third party sites. The simple API allows a website to display embedded content (such as photos or videos) when a user posts a link to that resource, without having to parse the resource directly.


OExchange is an open protocol for sharing any URL with any service on the web.

Open Graph Protocol

The Open Graph Protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. For instance, this is used on Facebook to enable any web page to have the same functionality as a Facebook Page.


OpenID is a safe, faster, and easier way to log in to web sites.


OpenPGP is on the Internet Standards Track and is under active development. The current specification is RFC 4880 (November 2007), the successor to RFC 2440. Many e-mail clients provide OpenPGP-compliant email security as described in RFC 3156.


OpenSocial helps social network sites share their social data with the web. Applications that use the OpenSocial APIs can be embedded within a social network itself, or access a site's social data from anywhere on the web.


PubSubHubbub a simple, open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol.


RSSCloud - There are three sides to the cloud:

  1. The authoring tool. I edit and update a feed. It contains a <cloud> element that says how a subscriber should request to notification of updates.
  2. The cloud. It is notified of an update, and then in turn notifies all subscribers.
  3. The subscriber. A feed reader, aggregator, whatever -- that subscribes to feeds that may or may not be part of a cloud.


RSSN, or Really Simple Social Networking, is a concept for an open-source distributed social networking protocol. Unlike existing social networks, RSSN is not controlled by any company, and your data remains on your servers where you control your privacy settings as you see fit. Although quite a few social networks exist or are development, RSSN is unique. Here is a list of similar networks.


Salmon aims to define a standard protocol for comments and annotations to swim upstream to original update sources -- and spawn more commentary in a virtuous cycle. It's open, decentralized, abuse resistant, and user centric.


Tent is a protocol for open, decentralized social networking. Tent users share content with apps and each other. Anyone can run a Tent server, or write an app or alternative server implementation that uses the Tent protocol. Users can take their content and relationships with them when they change or move servers. Tent supports extensible data types so developers can create new kinds of interaction.


Webfinger - Personal Web Discovery, making email addresses readable again.


WebID is an authentication protocol that uses the SSL/TLS layer for user identification by tying the client to a profile document on the web through placing a URI in the Subject Alternative Name field in an X509 certificate. This is the first step to a fully standard-based browser authentication experience. Of course it is not limited to browser based authentication: peer to peer server authentication will work just as well.


XMPP is an open technology for real-time communication, which powers a wide range of applications including instant messaging, presence, multi-party chat, voice and video calls, collaboration, lightweight middleware, content syndication, and generalized routing of XML data.