TripIt, Open Standards, and the Social Web

Over the past several
months we’ve been working hard to add new ways for you to share your travel
information with your existing network of friends and applications.  Most
recently we launched TripIt Traveler Profiles (see previous blog post or release email) in an effort to further this effort along.  As the resident geek, I wanted to share with you a little bit about what’s going on behind the scenes.

We
created TripIt Traveler Profiles by utilizing existing open standards that are enabling the open social web because TripIt is an open platform
and we believe the emerging open social web is a good thing for both TripIt and you.  In addition to fun
travel stats, a nice picture, and a list of your upcoming trips we’ve included microformat (hCard, geo, and XFN) markup that enables you to
tie your TripIt identity back to the larger identity you have built
across dozens of other sites on the web.  We have also made it
possible for you to publish both your location stream (iCalendar
format) and your activity stream (Atom) at your public profile URL so that you can
freely share your travel information with a variety of other services
that support open web standards (e.g., Google Calendar, Plaxo,
Friendfeed, etc.).

For
the geeks out there like myself, you can think of your TripIt profile URL as
your “travel identity end-point.”  For those who don’t speak geek, just
think of your TripIt profile as a great place for your friends, as
well as other services you use online, to find out where you’re
traveling.

I’ve
been playing around with Google’s Social Graph API to see if Google
has been successful in knitting together my distributed online
identity, and the results have been pretty good, at least for the
sites that provide me the ability to link back. Here’s who “Andy
Denmark” is online:

http://socialgraph-resources.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/samples/findyours.html?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tripit.com%2Fpeople%2Fdenmark

The
sites towards the top of the list have more “confirmed”
connections back to my TripIt profile since they allow me to link
back to my public TripIt profile. The sites towards the bottom either
don’t give me the ability to authenticate the connection by creating
a XFN marked-up link back or I just haven’t set it up yet.

You
can go and see what your distributed online identity looks like by
going to this page and providing some of your own public profile
URLs (e.g. your TripIt public profile):

http://socialgraph-resources.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/samples/findyours.html

Once
you set up your public profiles and link them to each other it may
take Google a while (a week or more) to re-crawl those pages and
collect the data needed to surface your connections.

There’s
certainly a lot more to come from TripIt in regards to working with
social networks and open standards, but Travel Profiles are a step in
that direction. Let me know your thoughts.