What is OpenID and why should you care?
For many of us, the thought of not having to create new usernames and passwords evokes images of the heavens parting and angels trumpeting.
One of the major talking points at last week’s Future of Web Apps Conference was OpenID – in fact Kevin Rose of digg.com announced at the conference that they are planning to adopt it. Microsoft and AOL have both already announced their support.
I was going to do a write up to explain why OpenID gaining traction could herald the next semi-revolution, but over at the AOL developer network they’ve written an excellent article called OpenID and the Value of Connected Identity. In summary:
- OpenID allows you to securely log in to a website without having to create a new username or password.
- You can keep your identity information in the place you choose without trusting the next random start-up with your password – you can even run your own server.
- There’s no need to worry about your preferred login name not being available – it’s a URL so it is always uniquely your identity – eg http://claimID.com/paullomax.
And just to prove it’s going to go mainstream, The Times Online also has a write-up – although their strap includes a word that is almost the antithesis of OpenID [my emphasis] :
Companies are competing to introduce a single, secure login that would work for all bank accounts, shopping sites and other web activities.
I think OpenID really does have a future, particularly once it goes to 2.0 which promises to solve a few of the potential issues such as phishing and generally making the whole system a bit easier from a user perspective.