​Twitter Trademark Filing Refers to Identity APIs, SDKs

A new Twitter trademark application for the phrase "The Future of Identity" hints that the social media giant is planning big things for APIs and SDKs related to identity.

Twitter's filing with the United States Patent & Trademark Office refers to an " Application Programming Interface ( API) and software development kits (SDKs) for enabling user identification, Authentication and verification", "downloadable software for use in user identification, authentication and verification" and "downloadable software for securing, organizing, maintaining, and managing, logins, credentials, passwords, and other authentication, security or identifying information."

The application was filed on March 30. While the filing has sparked speculation, the date of first use listed, March 24, corresponds to a blog post entitled Digits: The future of identity, strongly suggesting that Twitter's trademark refers to Digits, Twitter's phone-based login solution.

Using the Digits iOS and Android SDKs, mobile app developers can permit their users to sign up or into their apps using their phone numbers. There is also a JavaScript-based web solution designed to compliment mobile apps.

According to Twitter, "Email and password signup is a technology that has not been innovated on in decades. Signup forms are cumbersome and repetitive. When users forget their credentials and fail to sign in, you can lose customers."

Digits eliminates the need to use email addresses and passwords, and instead relies on phone numbers and SMS. This, Twitter says, also offers significant advantages over alternative solutions. "While social sign-in skips passwords when users are already logged in, many users are cautious to give up their entire social history to an app they just downloaded. Or, they might forget their social sign-in credentials and fail to engage with your app!" Twitter explains. Digits also offers developers the ability to more easily tap into international markets where the web is accessed primarily through mobile phones.

Another interesting feature Digits offers developers is the ability to create custom mobile graphs that are not shared with other apps. With a few lines of code, Digits can "automatically match both mutual or one-way connections", something Twitter says is otherwise cumbersome to build from scratch.

Digits, which is part of Twitter's Fabric suite, is currently free. It supports 216 countries and uses the same secure infrastructure that other Twitter services rely on. According to Twitter, that infrastructure currently handles 288 million active monthly users and thousands of API partners.

While it's not clear whether Twitter has plans to significantly extend Digits, the fact that the company is trying to trademark the phrase "The Future of Identity" suggests that the company wants to own the future of identity – literally and figuratively. So it would not be surprising to see additional APIs and SDKs added to Digits offering in the future.

Be sure to read the next Identity article: Why the Internet of Things is about the Identity of Everything