Big Boys Back Open ID Scheme

Dennis Faas's picture

A system to reduce the number of passwords web users need to remember just took a major step forward.

You may remember a couple of weeks ago we told you about Yahoo joining the Open ID scheme, in which a user name and password for one site works automatically on all other member sites.

We concluded: "The Yahoo involvement is an important step for the scheme, but without the likes of eBay, Google, Hotmail, and Amazon being involved, it's unlikely to have any real effect."

Well, that might be about to change. Google, IBM and Microsoft have all joined the Open ID Foundation board, the independent body which manages the scheme. They are joined by Yahoo itself and Verisign, a firm best known for running the registry of website addresses ending in '.com'. (Source:

There's no talk yet of the new member companies' websites, such as Gmail and Hotmail, though Google is carrying out a limited test on the comments section of its blogging facility.

By joining the board the firms have given the concept much needed credibility. Major websites are now much more likely to consider it worth joining the scheme now that they now the big players are taking it seriously. (Source:

The idea works as users register with one member website (for example Yahoo). When they visit another website (for example, LiveJournal), rather than having to set up an account, they can simply type the name of the original site (in this case in the user name box to be automatically logged in.

What happens next is uncertain. It's not clear what will happen to Yahoo IDs if Microsoft takes the company over. It's also unknown how Microsoft will deal with the obvious conflict between the Open ID system and its own multi-site log-in scheme, Windows Live ID.

Although Internet sites and systems have always thrived on momentum, the Open ID scheme certainly looks like it will become firmly established now that it has such credible support.

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet