Gravatar Has A New Home – WordPress

Gravatar Acquired By AutomatticI’m pretty happy to see that Gravatar has been picked up by the WordPress guys. Gravatar is a neat concept in that when you upload an avatar to their service, any website or forum that supports Gravatar would be able to display your image. It was a concept that if it would of taken off like it was supposed to, chances are, we would of had the ability to use one service for avatar management instead of relying on individual sites and forums.

Within the past three days, Automattic has moved the Gravatar Rails application into their own WordPress infrastructure. This has allowed Gravatars to display three times faster as well as making the site load each time you browse to it. This was a problem I was experiencing with Gravatar a week ago where the damn site wouldn’t load. Glad to see thats fixed. Last but not least, Gravatar was running on the Mephisto CMS and has since been moved over to WordPress. Imagine that!

The most exciting portion of this acquisition are the plans that Matt and company have for the service:

  • All of the Premium features will be free, and refund anyone who bought them in the last 60 days.
  • Move the gravatar serving to a Content Delivery Network so not only will they be fast, it’ll be low latency and not slow down a page load.
  • Take the million or so avatars we have on WordPress.com and make them available through the Gravatar API, to compliment the 115k already here.
  • From Gravatar, integrate them into all WordPress.com templates and bring features like multiple avatars over.
  • From WordPress.com, bring the bigger sizes (128px) over and make that available for any Gravatar. Currently Gravatars are only available up to 80px.
  • Allow Gravatar profile pages with Microformat support for things like XFN rel="me" and hCard.
  • Develop a new API that has cleaner URLs and allows Gravatars to be addressed by things like URL in addition to (or instead of) email addresses.
  • Rewrite the application itself (site.gravatar.com) to fit directly into our WordPress.com grid, for internet-scale performance and reliability.

I’m pretty excited to see the implementation of Gravatar into WordPress as a whole. The two services compliment each other and it’s only natural that they become ONE. I’ve used Gravatar for a few years now but it’s been awhile since I’ve messed with my account. Looks like I should blow the dust off as I’ll be using it again in the near future.

What do you think of this acquisition? Do you use Gravatar? Go ahead and leave some feedback.

7 thoughts on “Gravatar Has A New Home – WordPress

  1. This is great, great news. My goodness is this great news. We use Gravatars on RA Project. Hopefully now more avatars will show up. And with better WordPress support, this is a dream come true.

  2. I’m very late to the Gravatar scene. I just signed up for an account last night after reading the news about them being bought out. I will attempt to integrate it in my site’s layout, but I still have a lot of work to do with it in general.

    I am curious though; did this service integrate into other services like Movable Type? I just wonder if does, would WordPress would cut them out of the loop? They could, even if I don’t believe they should.

  3. @Ronald Huereca I agree. I think its awesome news. I currently use a plugin that enables my comment section to display MyBlogLog and Gravatar avatar images. I will write up a post later today as to which plugin I’m using and how I use it.

    @James MoweryJames, Ron brought up a good point. I think Automattic will continue to allow the Gravatar API to remain open so third parties can access the service. I think if Matt closed it off to WordPress only, not only would that be a stupid move, but it would leave a bad taste in quite a few mouths.

    P.S. James, have you received any emails from me in your inbox? Just wondering if your getting them or not.

  4. I’m delighted with the news. But oddly enough, since the acquisition and move, gravatars have stoppped displaying on my site. Also, more annoyingly, I can’t access the plugins folder of my wp-admin to fix the issue and I strongly suspect that misbehaviour by the Gravatar plugin is to blame.

    is anyone else experiencing a similar problem?

  5. @Astorg Not me. I use a plugin called MyAvatars which displays both MyBlogLog and Gravatar avatars. Things have been working smoothly for me.

    If you can’t gain access, login to your site via FTP and delete that plugin from the WP-Plugin directory. That should fix the issue.

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