I have become a big proponent of OpenID lately. I think it is a great solution to the growing problem of managing your online identity and login across many sites.
Today, WordPress.com announced that they would begin supporting OpenID:
“OpenID is a new standard that hopes to alleviate some of the pain, and we’ve just made it available to everyone who has a WordPress.com blog. This means you can sign in to a growing number of sites using your existing WordPress.com account.” (Quote from WordPress.com)
This is great news, but so far, it looks like a one way deal. You can use WordPress.com OpenID credentials to log into other sites, but you cannot use other OpenID providers to post to WordPress.com:
“Unfortunately, you cannot login to WordPress (at least from what I can tell) with an external OpenID. This means that WordPress.com is just a provider of OpenID’s and not a consumer of OpenID’s. So I can’t use my MyOpenID or my LiveJournal OpenID post comments on WordPress.com blogs. Hopefully support for that will be coming soon.” (Quote from Scott Kveton, CEO of JanRain)
I suspect that WordPress.com is testing the waters by becoming an OpenID to provider as a first step. If it is successful, I would not be surprised if they decided to accept OpenID’s to login and post to WordPress.com.
I have been playing around with Jyte, a recently released JanRain product, this weekend. It is a way to manage your identity via claims and cred:
Jyte is a place to make claims about yourself, others, or just about anything. It’s a place for web surfers to see what you are up to and what you’re thinking. It’s a place to learn more about friends, and for others to learn about you through your claims, votes, and cred. It’s a place to build out your social network and share it with other sites. It’s a place to use your shiny new OpenID, and a place for people who see your OpenID around the web to discover your world. (Quote from the Jyte Blog)
You should check it out, but as a warning … it is highly addictive.
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my recent change of heart about OpenID and identity management in general. As we begin to rely more heavily and put more of ourselves into web 2.0 and other online environments, identity management becomes increasingly important.
We have an upcoming hackfest here in Portland on January 17th called MashPit: OpenID for anyone wanting to learn more about OpenID in a hands-on environment working with the experts to make OpenID work for your sites and apps. If you’ve ever wanted single sign-on and OpenID, but did not know where to start or had questions about implementation, this event would be a great place to start!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007 from 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Where: JanRain World Headquarters
RSVP here to attend this free event.
Visit the wiki for more information.
I rarely (if ever) blog about online identities or OpenID, and if you had asked me a year ago about OpenID, or any other technology designed to provide a single point of authentication where the user manages their own identity, I would have responded with something like “dream on”, “when pigs fly” or some other “no way in hell will that ever really happen” smartypants answer.
Maybe I have been spending too much time talking to people like Scott Kveton and Kaliya Hamlin (AKA Identity Woman), but I am becoming a true believer and advocate for identity management. With the recent proliferation of web 2.0 sites, an easy way to manage my online identity without needing a billion username / password combos is very appealing. Yes, I know that wishful thinking will not make something come true; however, OpenID has made an amazing amount of traction over the past few months.
Now, JanRain is making it even easier for companies / websites to use OpenID with their new affiliate program:
I am excited to announce the launch of our Affliate Program aimed at sites that want to use OpenID but don’t want to have to manage an OpenID server or their users’ identities. Now with just a few clicks of your mouse you can have a place for your users to get OpenID’s. In addition, sites will get added to our ever-growing directory of sites that support OpenID. There are hundreds of sites that support OpenID today and that number is growing everyday.
By hosting identities for end-users we’re hoping that sites that support OpenID can focus on their “main thing”; blogging, photo sharing, wiki’s, etc. OpenID lowers the barrier to engagement for users and increases stickiness on sites; no more forgotten usernames or passwords. If you’re a developer and interested in OpenID enabling your site, head over to our sister site www.openidenabled.com and learn more about the open source libraries, patches and tools available for making that happen. (Quote from Scott Kveton’s Blog)
I have an OpenID through ClaimID, and I would like to see more websites start to support it. It really is a win-win for both sides: ease of use for the consumer and less overhead for companies / individuals maintaining sites requiring authentication.