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Salmon Protocol May Be the Future of the Web

Bobby Travis

This is a post by Bobby Travis, who wrote with me at 40Tech from 2009 through 2012. Bobby has since moved on to bigger and better things, but I've left all of his great contributions up on the site. - Evan
Bobby Travis

 Salmon Protocol May Be the Future of the Web | 40tech

About a month or so ago, I came across a few articles about Salmon Protocol – an open protocol that allows for communication beyond the confines of social networks; as well as a centralized conversation that brings comments from everywhere home to their source. Imagine, if you will, being able to communicate with people on Facebook from Twitter, or on MySpace from Facebook – and without having to join multiple networks. Wouldn’t that just make life peachy? Or maybe you are a blogger and would like to know about conversations that have sprung up around your post on the various social networks out there. Salmon Protocol plans to take you there – and may well be the future of the web.

Now before you get too excited, it is unlikely that Facebook has any immediate plans to adopt Salmon Protocol, as that would cause people to be able to communicate with other Facebook users without having to be a Facebook member. Facebook can’t serve targeted ads at people not on their network, and as such are not likely willing to let their stranglehold on social media slip away just yet. However, with the newest round of privacy issues raising the ire of the cynical and cautious out there, they may see a bit of a dip in their userbase as people look for alternatives – and if enough outside networks adopt Salmon Protocol, Facebook and other major networks may be forced to bow to user-pressure for inter-network communications.

Cliqset and Status.net are the first social networks to adopt Salmon, allowing their users to communicate with each other, while only having to sign up with the one network. Google Buzz is reported to have Salmon integration on its roadmap as well, which may help people to gain renewed interest in the platform. All three companies are serious innovators who have expressed interest in creating a “web without walls”, so to speak. These are the people who often define the shape and use of the web well before the technology becomes mass adopted. In fact, the primary creator of the Salmon Protocol is Google employee John Panzer and the primary medium Salmon uses for the real time transfer of data is PubSubHubbub, also created by Google employees.

For bloggers and others who are interested in seeing the fully realized conversation surrounding their work appearing on their own pages, Salmon Protocol is going to be the way to go. Consider being able to see commentary on your article or other work that is part of a conversation on Feedly, Google Buzz, Twitter, or elsewhere, actually appearing (in real time) on your site. Automatically, that is, once you signal that the comment is allowed to appear on your site – moderation has not been forgotten with Salmon. You can already do some level of this with JS Kit’s Echo commenting service, but Salmon promises to be more thoroughly cyclical – and will always be free like HTML is free, whereas you have to pay for Echo. Once the Salmon Protocol takes off and is at a point where adoption is simple, it could literally change how we use the web.

What are your thoughts on Salmon Protocol?