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If I am correct, then currently it is not only required to sign in with a Microsoft ID, but also to have a Photosynth profile, before one can comment on or favorite a Photosynth. I feel this excludes a major part of the audience with whom Photosynths are shared on Maps and social media to use these features.
I take that identification is necessary to avoid playing tricks, but I feel requiring a Photosynth profile is unnecessarily limiting. Would it be possible to change this, please?
I feel it would be great if this could grow in such a way that identification through other social media accounts is also possible, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and so on.
Open feedback from Bing Maps users would particularly be valuable.
Reshare of Photosynths by this Maps and social media audience could attract a lot more people to Photosynth as well as Bing Maps.
I'm also in favor of multiple authentication methods for commenting for more engagement.
On the other hand, having had some experience looking after messageboards where people continually forget their passwords and create duplicate accounts and it drives me slightly crazy that all their comments aren't under a single account.
I know I'm not much one to talk with three profiles here that I've used extensively (Nathanael, Nathanael.Lawrence, + NateLawrence), but it is true and I can imagine the resulting chaos from multiple users logging in with Twitter, Disqus, Facebook, etc. on different occasions.
I would request that if multiple authentication methods for commenting are ever introduced in the future, that it be possible to attach alternate authentication accounts to the user's Photosynth account (if they create one in the future) so as to merge all activity to a single profile.
On the other hand, Microsoft was one of the first companies to ever offer a single sign-in service and I don't see Google offering Twitter (and certainly not Facebook or Microsoft account) authentication. Nor do I see Apple offering alternate authentication for their services. You use an Apple account or nothing.
So, from that standpoint, it's unlikely that Microsoft is exceptionally keen to offer alternate forms of authentication to Microsoft accounts. There has been precedent set, though, with Bing offering Facebook authentication.
The other factor here is that since the rise of Facebook, a Microsoft account is not the dominant means of social interaction on the web that it once was in the pre-Facebook heydays of MSN Messenger, so there's not a single public face to a Microsoft account since Windows Live development has been discontinued.
It's also been pointed out before that although having a single username and password to use everywhere is useful, you may not want to identify yourself in all communities the same way or share your activity in one community with your activity in others.
The example that I heard J. Allard give once was that he didn't necessarily want his mountain biking friends to see all of his XBOX LIVE identity or activity, even if he made a mountain biking enthusiast site that used Microsoft account for account creation.
Even if Photosynth.net activity wasn't shown on a central Microsoft social hub, many people would rather choose their own alias for activity on Photosynth, especially in cases where they are a public figure and would rather avoid the attention by interested parties made possible by using the same username everywhere.
I suspect that is the reasoning behind selecting a Photosynth username in addition to signing in with a Microsoft account.
One can sign-in to the Microsoft Skype service with Skype credentials, Microsoft ID and Facebook credentials.
Back to my fundamental request. Please allow commenting and favoring without a Photosynth profile.
Joscelin, in the case of using Facebook ID, one's real name is always used, which is acceptable and happens all across the web now, so there is no question of what label to attribute activity to.
In the case of Skype's existing userbase before Microsoft bought them, they had to supply an email address, a password and a username. This is nothing more than what Photosynth is requiring.
But if people are allowed to sign in with a Microsoft Account and comment and favorite things without typing a simple username to be known by here, then the question is who to say that the comment or forum post is authored by.
Some people may not want the first and last name they entered when creating a Microsoft account to be displayed when they comment here. Publicly displaying a user's email address as their username is unthinkable in this day.
There is also very little point to favoriting synths if a user does not have a profile to go look at to see all of their favorites.
Personally, I feel that Photosynth should do away with its own separate username and use the Microsoft ID name or those of other sign-in accounts. In a gaming environment I can imagine nicknames, but Photosynth is not a gaming environment, is it. I agree that using an email address on display is not a great idea. If one really wants, then name in Microsoft ID can be a nickname and one can have multiple accounts too. I am not an advocate of those practices though.
You're right that Photosynth isn't a gaming environment.
I think that I made clear before that the desire for a different username than one's first and last name could be desirable in other contexts.
I wouldn't be surprised if you wanted to retain your Joscelin Trouwborst handle, as it will likely be how people know you from your uploads to Google Places, etc. but it was only yesterday that you were saying that you would like to get back access to your former OmniSynThesis handle as well. It seems to me that that is the sort of nickname that you're arguing against, though.
:-) I have a separate Microsoft ID for OmniSynthesis. It is supposed to be a business, but I have not sent out in invoice so far. It is a trademarked business name nevertheless. Reminds me that it is due for renewal this year.
Still, let's get some more people on the Photosynth bandwagon by making it easier to be just audience.