OpenID gains support from Microsoft and AOL

On the 6th February Bill Gates announced that Microsoft was going to support OpenID within its CardSpace set of technologies. Given this massive vote of confidence from the world's leading desktop supplier it would seem there is very little in the way of OpenID becoming a highly influential, Web-based identity system. After this announcement it also comes as no surprise that other large, Web-centric companies like have announced their intention to support OpenID as well.

OpenID became a successful identity solution because it is not centralised around a single, all powerful source and at its heart is relatively straightforward when compared to many of its contempories. Like other influential technologies such as RSS and podcasting it was created by a small team (Brad Fitzpartrick) and was released to the world as an open standard. These factors have made it relatively easy for large companies like Microsoft and AOL to adopt whilst other more complex, 'big business' alternatives have failed to gain momentum.

OpenID's limited scope means it is not going to solve all the world's identity problems but in the near future we should find maintaining our identity on the Web becomes just a little easier. What still remains to be seen is whether Google and Yahoo will support OpenID in their product lines. Given their operating models I do not believe either will support OpenID directly in their services but they both will provide their users with OpenID-enabled accounts. Nick Manley provides a good case for this in his post 'Why Google will support OpenID'. The bottom line is anything that makes people use their Google/Yahoo accounts more frequently is good for business, especially now that will be supported within Windows.

UPDATE: (21/2/2007) Kevin Rose has recently announced that will be supporting OpenID sometime next year.

An identity presentation that is not boring

Identity presentations can be boring because by and large it is a boring topic full of acronyms, complexities and unresolved issues. This presentation by Dick Hardt at OSCON 2005 breaks the mold so to speak by talking about complicated issues in a very interesting and visual manner. It is worth watching if you are interested in identity or looking for an interesting visual presentation technique for your next Powerpoint/Keynote.

Dick Hardt at OSCON 2005 - Identity 2.0 

Easy OpenID and Drupal

OpenID is an easy to setup identification system for both users and developers that is beginning to gain industry momentum. OpenID uses URL's as unique identifiers which is a flexible and memorable way of tackling what your identity is. As it is relatively simple in principle OpenID is not a solution for all identity tasks but in a loosely joined, Web-centric context it is well suited.

All you need to do to use it is sign up for a free OpenID account, or if you are really adventurous implement your own system. When you login to an OpenID-enabled website/service it takes your submitted url and password and passes it on to the OpenID service for authentication. The first time you successfully authenticate you must tell the OpenID service exactly what (if any) information the target website/service should be able to see.