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OpenID + Pavatar is a Good Thing

By Janrain Team | Posted on December 29, 2006

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Pavatar is a decentralized, URL based, avatar discovery system. An avatar is an internet user’s representation of themself in the form of a icon image. From the site:

The Personal Avatar (aka Pavatar) is a personal picture hosted on your webspace which is then used by websites to display whenever referring to content provided by YOU, the user. An example would be if you made a comment or a site posting where an avatar is required.

A pavatar is simply an 80×80 pixel icon image in GIF, JPG, or PNG format. Given a URL,, it’s pavatar is easily discovered using the following algorithm:

  1. HTTP fetch looking for the X-Pavatar HTTP header. If present, the contents will be the URL of the pavatar.
  2. If the X-Pavatar header is not present, parse the HTTP response, looking for in the HEAD section of the page. If present, the contents of the HREF attribute is the URL to the pavatar.
  3. Fetch, just like browsers look for favicon.ico


With OpenID, the user already proves that they own a URL, and if that URL also supports pavatar, then relying parties may autmatically set the user’s icon. How cool would it be to just log into ClaimID or Ma.gnolia for the first time and not have to upload a user icon? Very cool! I really like where this is going, so I’ve pavatar enabled, which also happens to be my OpenID.

More info at digg this.

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