• Growth, Performance, and Pretty URLs

    It’s been a while since we have posted about the current scale of Gravatar. Since that post in 2008, things have changed quite a bit. We are now serving over 100,000 requests per second. That is over 8.6 billion requests per day – more than the number of people currently alive.

    With the help of our partners, Edgecast and Dyn, Gravatar is faster than ever. Distributing content across the world allows the majority of requests to complete in under 100 milliseconds – that is 4 times faster than the blink of an eye! No wonder more people are using Gravatar every day.

    In 2007, we replaced the (ugly) image URL /avatar.php?gravatar_id=HASH with the (pretty) URL /avatar/HASH. As firm believers in backwards compatibility, we continue to support both URL formats. In order to ensure the freshest content is served to all users, we now redirect the old URLs to the new ones. We suggest that if you are still using the old avatar.php?gravatar_id=HASH style URLs that you switch to the new style – it will be prettier and faster for your users. If you have any questions about this change, please refer to our documentation.

    Since Gravatar support has been added to WordPress, there are millions of WordPress sites using Gravatar every day. But did you know these other sites also use Gravatar?

    Stack Overflow
    Gnome Extensions
    American Idol
    Battlefield 3 Battlelog
    99 designs
    Digital Photography Review

    Want to learn how to integrate Gravatar with your website? Check out our implemetation documentation.

  • Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3 Game Selects Gravatars For Use In Profiles

    Electronic Arts has implemented Gravatar in their upcoming Battlefield 3 video game’s online profile and game management site Battlelog.

    Battlelog is the new browser interface for the game, allowing you to find friends, servers to play on, groups to join as well as your stats. Wherever a user is listed on the site, be it on your friends list or on the list of people currently playing on a server, their Gravatar is shown.

    Battlefield 3 Battlelog

  • Open Profile Data

    Did you know that in addition to the hCard markup on profile pages, we support a number of other completely open, standards-based formats for accessing profile data on Gravatar? These formats are all accessed using a similar method to how Gravatar images have been requested. Full details are provided in the Developer Resources section of the site which has been completely refreshed! Here are the formats that are available:

    • JSON
    • XML
    • PHP
    • VCF/vCard
    • QR Codes

    The raw data formats (JSON, XML, PHP) are based on the Portable Contacts standard to improve interoperability with existing tools and systems, while the other formats are existing standards for sharing certain pieces of data. We’ll be providing some example implementations to demonstrate just how powerful these options can be, and I’m sure that we’ll start seeing some creative implementations from folks in the near future.

    Here was the initial announcement around the coming profile data formats which I made at WordCamp San Francisco 2010 in May. You can also view the video on WordPress.tv.

  • Now supporting Gowalla, Google and GoodReads

    In our never ending quest to bring awesome profile power to gravatar users, we’ve added support for three awesome services: Gowalla, GoodReads and Google Profiles. And yes, it is true, given we are called Gravatar, we do have a secret preference for G named services.

    You can add these new services to your Gravatar Profile the same way you add any other service. Just click “Edit My Profile” under the “My Account” menu at the top of Gravatar.com and then go to the “Verified Services” section. Enjoy!

  • Chrome Extension for Gmail

    A friend of mine pointed out this pretty slick extension for Gmail called socialGmail. It adds Gravatar support into your Gmail account, placing Gravatars in your mail listings, and also within conversation view. Here are a couple of screenshots (taken from the extension page) so you can see how it works:

  • Gravatar Hovercards on WordPress.com

    You thought Gravatar Profiles were cool? Wait until you see them on all WordPress.com blogs.

    Today we’re upping your Gravatar Profile to a new level of awesomeness with Gravatar Hovercards. It’s now easy to find out about who is behind your favorite comments on WordPress.com simply by moving your mouse over their Gravatar.  This new feature is enabled by default across WordPress.com.

    What’s a Hovercard?

    Gravatar Hovercards show information about a person: name, bio, pictures, and their contact info at other services they use on the web like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

    As a commenter, Hovercards offer a great way to show your Internet presence and help people find your own blog. If you’re a blogger on WordPress.com, you can quickly check out who’s commenting on your blog, and have an easier time connecting with them.

    How to use and see Hovercards

    You can see other people’s Hovercards by moving your mouse over their Gravatar picture in comments on any WordPress.com blog, and after a moment the Hovercard will appear. The information shown is taken directly from the person’s Gravatar profile. The more info in the profile, the more we show in the Hovercard.

    If you haven’t set up your Gravatar Profile yet, just log in to Gravatar.com and fill out your details under Edit My Profile. If you don’t have an account yet, you can sign up here.

    Check back soon for details on how to add hovercards to your own website, or any site currently using Gravatars.

  • Thunderbird Extension Lets You Add Gravatars

    By downloading the “Display Contact Photo” extension from Thunderbird, you can now view Gravatars, creating a personalized touch to all your email messages:

    How to Install

    To set this up, first follow the download and installation directions found on the extension page above.

    Then, to specifically enable Gravatars, follow these steps:

    1. Go to Tools > Add-ons > Extensions. Click “Options.”

    2. Open the “Remote photos” tab and click “enable Gravatars.”

    3. Go to the “General Settings” tab and in the “Choose a default photo” drop-down menu, select “Gravatar.” Click “OK.”

    4. You’re all set. Enjoy!

  • Gravatar Gets Around

    Since our last update, we’ve spotted a number of implementations of Gravatar around the web that we think are pretty neat. Here are a couple of them:

    • MailChimp now supports Gravatar, loading them up as part of the member profile for any subscribers who belong to mailing lists you manage.
    • Yoav emailed to let us know about Gravatar.NET, a package for .NET developers who want to make full use of the XML-RPC API to manage their images remotely. He is using his library on Ponderi.com, and has a tutorial about working with the XML-RPC API on his personal site.
    • Rapportive is a very cool browser plugin that modifies your GMail screen so that you can see some information about the contacts you’re conversing with. It aggregates data from all over the place, including images and profile data from Gravatar.
    • We’ve also heard a few whispers from folks who are playing with the new profile data and how that can be used in other applications as well — more on that in the future!

    We really love seeing Gravatar pop up in new and different ways, so if you’ve heard of or seen any others, please let us know in the comments.

  • Profile Pages <3 hCard

    Did you know that your profile pages are fully marked up using hCard? hCard is a microformat for programmatically embedding information about people, companies, organizations, and places in HTML and other markup languages. The screenshot below describes some of the main markup involved on a profile page

    1. Email address marked up with class=email (only available via JS/client-side parsing due to spam-protection measures)
    2. IM accounts marked up using class=url (some values only available via JS/client-side parsing due to spam-protection measures)
    3. Phone numbers marked up with class=tel (using type/value subproperties)
    4. Verified accounts marked up with class=url and rel=me
    5. Name marked up with class=fn
    6. Personal Links are marked up with class=url
    7. Image (main Gravatar) is marked up using class=photo
    hCard on Profile Pages
    hCard on Profile Pages

    There’s more profile-data goodness coming soon, so check back here for the latest.

  • Picture Finder

    Thanks to an email from the creator, we’ve been made aware of this really neat Gravatar-powered application for Mac users. Picture Finder is a free (but please donate!) application for Mac OSX 10.6 users that allows you to control the images that appear in Address Book on your system (which will also sync to your iPhone if you have one). It looks up all the different possible images for each contact based on any email addresses you have stored against them.

    Picture Finder
    Picture Finder main window

    It won’t keep images updated, but it does give you a quick and easy way to select an image for your contacts from one of the generated options, or their selected image if they have a Gravatar account. I enabled the option to “Replace pictures without double checking with me” and then I was able to just go through and double-click the image I wanted for each of my contacts.

    We absolutely love seeing Gravatar make its way off the web and onto your desktop, into your cell phone and everywhere else. Do you know of any other cool uses of Gravatars? Let us know in the comments!